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Take Pride in Your Mental Health



June is Pride Month: a time to celebrate the accomplishments and resiliency of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community. From rainbow flags to parades and political demonstrations, Pride Month is part celebration, part rally. Set in June to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, it’s an opportunity to mark how far we’ve come while also drawing attention to the challenges still plaguing the community, including mental health. 


How Does Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Impact Mental Health?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), LGBTQ+ adults are more likely than heterosexual, cisgender adults to use substances, experience mental health conditions including major depressive episodes and experience serious thoughts of suicide. 


Being queer is not a mental illness; rather, the LGBTQ+ community faces unique stressors that can put them at higher risk for mental health struggles including depression, anxiety, substance use disorder and suicidal ideation.


What Barriers Do The LGBTQ+ Community Face?

While society has made great strides since the Stonewall Uprising, inequities are still pervasive within the queer community. LGBTQ+ individuals often face stigma, discrimination, harassment and even hate crimes, all of which take a toll on mental and physical health.


What’s more, many LGBTQ+ individuals encounter barriers when seeking health care, including discriminatory or biased providers who do not provide the supportive, affirming care crucial for the improvement of mental and physical health outcomes within this population. LGBTQ+ individuals are also less likely to have health insurance coverage and trans individuals may experience policies inconsistent with their gender identity or needs.


While Pride Month is typically openly celebrated by those living as their authentic selves, it’s important to recognize the members of the community who are struggling with their identity or may fear coming out due to potential backlash. Coming out can be a process fraught with complex and gut-wrenching feelings, not knowing how friends, peers and family may react. Many individuals face being ostracized in exchange for living authentically, a tradeoff that can be extremely taxing.


How Can CTI-OK Help?

CTI-OK offers judgment-free, affirming comprehensive mental health and substance use recovery services to the LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones. We are dedicated to viewing an individual's health and social challenges through a wide lens by providing diverse and inclusive services in a welcoming safe space.


CTI-OK cares for people of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life, and is a champion of the underserved, minorities and socially disadvantaged individuals. Our mission is to educate, treat and support the community through means of integrated care, tailored to each individual's needs. At CTI-OK, all seeking recovery find a supportive team ready to help, regardless of ability to pay: many services are available at low or no cost. If you’re struggling, we want to hear from you.


Pride Month is not only a time for celebration, but also a time for action. Everyone should be able to find acceptance and live without fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Together, we can promote acceptance, break down stigmas and ensure that everyone has access to the critical care they need.


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