June was Pride Month, and many of the celebrations and parades have come to a close with the start of July. But joining in the parades and celebrations are not the only ways that we can lift up and support the mental health of our LGBTQ+ loved ones. This post will go over some easy ways that you can help support the mental health of LGBTQ+ members in your life.

Question Potential Biases

Being close with the LGBTQ members in your life means you love them and support LGBTQ rights, but unfortunately we are all affected by implicit biases one way or the other. Implicit biases can make us act in discriminatory ways without us even realizing it. So in order for you to continue to show your love and support, you’ll have to look inward and assess yourself.

Learning about LGBTQ rights, the movement, and issues facing the community can help when questioning any biases that may have been had. And don’t forget that it’s okay to have questions and make mistakes while you learn more. Educating yourself will help you acknowledge any past mistakes while you continue to support your LGBTQ loved ones.

Respect Their Identity

Some research says that affirming an LGBTQ+ member’s identity can help saves lives, especially in the transgender community. They have seen a reduced risk of suicide for trans individuals that are called by their selected name.

Respecting your LGBTQ+ loved one’s identity shows them that you support how they live their lives. Respecting their pronouns, clothing, and partners can show them that you truly care and aren’t forcing them to conform to your norms or society’s norms.

supporting lgbtq mental health

Don’t “Out” Them Without Permission

For an LGBTQ+ member, deciding when to be “out” about gender identity or sexual orientation is a very personal matter. This decision can be tough on their mental health, and if they have opened up to you in the past, you would not want to go out and begin to tell others about it without their permission. This can be damaging to their mental health, and it’s not your place to be talking about them.

There is nothing wrong with being LGBTQ, but if one person wants to be more secretive than the other, that is okay. Listen to your LGBTQ loved ones and learn how comfortable they are talking about themselves. You can go off of what they deem as okay so you can continue to support their mental health.

Have Their Back

LGBTQ members face a lot of obstacles that non-LGBTQ people don’t face. Supporting our LGBTQ loved ones means being an ally and helping make spaces friendlier.

You can educate other family members about LGBTQ identities and current issues they are facing to get them involved in the movement. Of course, if a family member is being discriminatory to an LGBTQ loved one, support them against the discrimination. You can also advocate for diversity training inside of your work to create a safer place for LGBTQ members.

Help Them Access Mental Health Resources

Everyone needs support to live a happy life. Supporting the mental health of your LGBTQ loved one means you should be there for them when they need you, and if you notice they are having a hard time, reach out to them and let them know you care.

You can also help your LGBTQ loved ones find a solid therapist that’s LGBTQ-friendly. This can be in an actual building, or online. You can also help your loved one get connected with LGBTQ support groups, and let them know that they can use any of the LGBTQ hotlines. They’re free!

Donating to mental health and anti-discrimination organizations like Fenway Health and the Anti-Violence Project can help support the LGBTQ movement too. This can bring more awareness to mental health inside of the LGBTQ community, while also establishing more organizations and research that can benefit the lives of LGBTQ members.