Mental illness is more common than you think in the United States. Common mental health issues include anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder. One in every five people will suffer from some mental health issue at some point during their lifetime. Unfortunately for trans people, the numbers are even higher than that — nearly 1 in 2 attempt suicide! Even worse, 41% have tried to kill themselves. Mental health disparities and mental health outcomes differ significantly when compared to their cisgender peers. Transgender youth and non-binary youth are at a higher risk of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety disorder than cisgender youth.
We can help! However, that means we need to educate ourselves first and offer support. When cisgender individuals educate themselves and support transgender individuals, we see a significant improvement in trans individuals’ mental health outcomes.
What does it mean to be transgender?
A person who identifies as transgender has a sense of self that doesn’t match up with society’s expectations for them. Gender is on a spectrum. This means that transgender people can identify and express themselves with more than just two genders. Gender expression is how you choose your gender identity.
What transgender definitions should we know?
It may be difficult at times to know which term to use when referring to transgender people and the mental health challenges that transgender people face. However, using the correct terminology is important because it helps ensure everyone understands you mean no harm by making such an assumption. You should never refer to someone as “a transgender.” Calling someone “a transgender” has a derogatory meaning within the phrase.
People often use many different words to describe themselves under one general term. GLAAD offers an extensive list of different types of transgender identity and their definitions for people who identify themselves differently from one another. In addition to these lists, some terms shouldn’t be used or are obsolete. It would help if you didn’t assume how they identify themselves. Ask them for their preferences before making any decisions.
What Are The Mental Health Challenges That Transgender People Face?
No. For years though, people assigned to male at birth but identified themselves as women (and vice versa) suffered from Gender Identity Disorder (GID). Homosexuality was included in this diagnosis. Gender Identity Disorder (GID) was also inappropriately linked to pedophilia.
Mental health professionals now understand the difficulties faced by people who identify themselves as transgender. Mental health challenges that Transgender people face are prevalent but that does not mean transgender people are mentally ill; they’re transgender. Transgender people may feel emotionally distressed because they identify themselves differently than others expect them to be. Depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms can manifest from this distress. This can happen if the discomfort with one’s physical self is very distressing. It usually occurs before someone transitions from one gender identity to another. It can lead to dysfunction in people’s daily lives, such as at work or during social gatherings.
Why are mental health challenges more common among trans individuals?
It’s clear when someone goes through a medical transition from one lifestyle to another because they change their appearance. Unfortunately, some people aren’t understanding.
They might feel rejected by their family members when transitioning from one gender identity to another. They could even face health insurance issues, too. Anticipating these obstacles may even convince some people that nothing they can do to change their situation. Researchers agree that when we accept the mental health challenges that transgender people face, they will have better mental health outcomes.
Transitions can be difficult for some people because they feel emotionally painful. There is a lot of emotional pain that comes from living with gender dysphoria. It’s essential for people who experience it to find ways to cope with their feelings, so they don’t feel overwhelmed by them. These mental illnesses cause people to think there’s nothing else left for them to live for and end up thinking about suicide.
How can someone help a loved one who is transgender?
Make sure they know you’re there. If they’re struggling with gender dysphoria, help them find an expert who knows how to treat these kinds of concerns. Medical experts are now explicitly trained for treating people with gender dysphoria. They also go into detail about everything from the different types of insurance available to medical care treatments. Competent providers specializing in LGBTQ issues include therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and marriage/family therapists. These mental health providers will get you the medical care you deserve.
It’s important to know when to talk and when not to talk about somebody’s gender identity. Gender minorities often feel pressured to share their experiences. Since transgender youth are often bullied, they may have post-traumatic stress disorder, and sharing their experiences could trigger an episode. Apologize if you accidentally used the wrong pronoun. Please don’t get too hung up on it. Remember that they are living, breathing human beings with talents and skills. Being transgender is not all they are!
You wouldn’t want to know too much about someone else’s surgery, test results, or medical procedures. Similarly, please don’t talk to transgender people about their transition surgeries or their transgender identity.