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Hey there! Welcome to our very first InPsychful Answers blogpost where we bring you information about the Psychology field mainly from a Singapore context. We are at the halfway mark of 2019, it’s time to get work done if you have not managed to accomplish your 2019 New Year resolution! I am not entirely sure if you are aware, but June also happens to be the Pride Month. In fact, in conjunction with Pride Month, Singapore will be holding its annual Pink Dot SG event on the 29th of this month!

Pink Dot SG, a non-profit movement at its eleventh edition (since it started in 2009) aims to spread the message about the freedom to love. One of the goals of Pink Dot SG is to promote openness and acceptance of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning/Queer) community and to encourage greater understanding between the community and their families and friends.

During its first edition in 2009, Pink Dot SG only managed to garner a small crowd of 2,500 people and it has since grown more than 10 times the initial size to a whooping 28,000 attendees in 2015. Despite the roaring success of Pink Dot SG, homophobia – negative feelings towards homosexuality – is still strongly prevalent in Singapore. Thus, in today’s episode of InPsychful Answers, we will be touching on the topic of mental health within the LGBTQ community.

Reuters Health reported that LGBTQ adolescents are three times more likely than heterosexual kids of the same age to commit suicide. It is believed that these youths are at a higher risk of displaying self-threatening behaviors, primarily because of the social stigmatization they face and the inability to accept themselves for who they really are. These self-threatening behaviors might lead to depression and anxiety disorders and it could eventually lead to suicidal behavior when left untreated.

“One of the biggest contributing factors to the higher rates of mental health challenges amongst the LGBT community comes from the discrimination that they face, be it verbal, physical or emotional.”

One of the biggest contributing factors to the higher rates of mental health challenges amongst the LGBT community comes from the discrimination that they face, be it verbal, physical or emotional. Not only does the discrimination comes from the society, in many cases it also comes from their own family and friends. Religion might also play an exacerbating role in some cases.

These individuals struggle with accepting themselves. When they find themselves in a situation where their feelings and thoughts are not aligned with their parents, their friends and even the society’s, confusion and shame might set in.

These adolescents are confused between who they are and who they are told to be. Having been told by the prevailing narrative that boys should only develop feelings for girls and not boys, they will inevitably be stressed and worried about being the odd one out. They might go around comparing themselves with other heterosexual children and think of themselves as being different. They will be paranoid that their parents, friends and religion will find out that they are homosexual/bisexual/transsexual and will not be willing to accept them for who they are.

“We do not know the mental and emotional turmoil that the LGBTQ community go through in their lives. Hence, it is important that we provide them with a support system where they can hold lean upon and seek advice from.”

Many of us have seen our friends go through the different stages of self-acceptance and most of them took a long time to accept who they are. We do not know the mental and emotional turmoil that the LGBTQ community go through in their lives. Hence, it is important that we provide them with a support system where they can hold lean upon and seek advice from. If you feel like someone in your life or even you yourself need some form of advice or help, please do see a LGBT friendly mental health professional (like InPsychful).

We are all humans aren’t we, so why don’t we all be more open and accepting to others? Together we can build an inclusive and loving society for all Singaporeans. Till next time!

Your Friendly Intern

Carroll, L. (2018, October 10). LGBT youth at higher risk for suicide attempts. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/health/lgbt-youth-at-higher-risk-for-suicide-attempts-10805166

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