Feeling misunderstood is something that everyone has experienced at one time or another, but the feeling of being consistently misunderstood can lead to mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, shame, and isolation. If you or someone you love identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you may feel like you need to take steps to reach better understanding. In honor of LGBTQIA+ Awareness Month, become informed about resources for yourself and those you love to help you both move forward in a healthy way.

LGBT History Month & National Coming Out Day

October is LGBT History month, with a highlight of National Coming Out Day on October 11, 2022. Many people struggle with how to come out to friends or family members. According to the 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health (The Trevor Project) 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year. The phrase, “you are not alone” has become cliche, but it’s because it’s true!  Approximately 4% of Minnesotans self-identify as LGBT, which averages out to be approximately 225,000 people. This would be about the same size as the populations of Rochester, Winona, and Duluth combined. In honor of this month, let’s work together to create a mindset of inclusion, acceptance, and understanding. Together, we can ensure that each unique human has a successful journey through life.

Support for the LGBTQIA+ Community

Zumbro Valley Health Center offers support services for youth and adults like you. Our skilled and knowledgeable professionals use an integrated approach to support you and your loved ones. We work each day to create an atmosphere of belonging for all who access our services. We embrace the beautiful diversity in our community, and we know how mental health is factored into being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. We offer group and individualized support for youth and adults who are questioning or conflicted by the prospect of coming out. For young people, we have an incredible peer group called the Rainbow Youth Connection. This free group is designed for youth ages 12-17. Please contact us for more information on how to get involved.

For adults in the LGBTQIA+ community, we offer services called Safe Space. This group is designed to work with the LGBTQ+ population, focus on coping skills, communication-social anxiety skills, resilience, and self-compassion/self-esteem when dealing with minority stress and stigma.

Resources to Support the LGBTQIA+ Community

For loved ones of individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ we provide individual services. These services can help parents, caregivers, spouses, and friends to know how to best support loved ones. If your loved one is struggling with mental illness or has recently come out, they need to know that you are there for them. Regarding young people, the 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health (The Trevor Project) has found that fewer than 1 in 3 transgender and nonbinary youth found their home to be gender-affirming. However, LGBTQ youth who felt high social support from their family reported attempting suicide at less than half the rate of those who felt low or moderate social support.

In addition to support at home, we offer services to help your loved one’s school and workplace to provide an inclusive and supportive environment as well. We can help you create a wraparound plan to support those you love at home, at work, and at school.

Where to turn for LGBTQIA+ Support

Whether you or someone you know identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed. When it comes to receiving or giving support, you may not know where to start. Although you may feel like avoiding the subject all together is the easiest approach, research demonstrates that love, understanding, and support is necessary. 60% of LGBTQ youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it. We are here to ensure they do with our specially trained staff that will walk alongside and support you to help you feel equipped for the days, months, and years ahead.

The statistics are frightening, but with proper care and preparation you can be resilient, supported, and loved.

Happy National Coming Out Day from all your friends at Zumbro Valley Health Care. To learn more about how we can best support you, please visit zvhc.org or call 507.289.2089