Why we need to talk more about mental health issues in the LGBTI community

a man sitting on a couch in a grey cardigan he is anxiously talking to a woman whose back is facing the camera

People in the LGBTI community may be more susceptible to mental health issues due to a range of factors such as discrimination which can include verbal bullying, physical abuse and inequalities – as well as isolation, homophobia and hate crime.

Research nationwide has found that people from the LGBTI community are more at risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm and that they are more likely to develop depression and anxiety compared to the rest of the population.

For some people ‘coming out’ can be a liberating experience but if you come out and experience rejection, it can affect your sense of worth. This may lead to people feeling that they have to hide their real self which may cause a decline in their mental wellbeing and increase stress.

Fortunately, there is a growing acceptance of the LGBTI community in the UK in recent years which is helping to combat such issues.

Why is it important to speak out about mental health issues?

Stigma, shame and embarrassment, or any feelings you may be experiencing that your GP or counsellor may not understand, are just a few factors that may prevent someone seeking help.

It is important to speak out about any mental health concerns as containing your emotions for too long can have serious implications both mentally and physically. These emotions can build up and if you do not find a release, can bubble up and weigh on you mentally. If you have experienced any of the following symptoms, you could benefit from seeking help:

  • Feel constantly tired or have a lack of energy
  • Feel fearful
  • Shut yourself away from people
  • No longer want to do things you may have enjoyed
  • Use alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Have harmed yourself or have thoughts about self-harming

It is important to remember that you are not alone, if you are not ready to speak with friends of family you could seek help from LGBTI support groups.

Here you will be given the opportunity to share your feelings and experiences with others and given advice of where to seek further help, if needed.

Don’t suffer in silence, you should get help as soon as you feel the need. Regardless of how big or small your issues may seem, there will always be someone to help.

What can be the result if a mental health issue is left unresolved?

Mental illness is different from some physical illnesses in that they are not often physically identifiable.

However, like many physical illnesses, they do not simply ‘go away’ over time and often the longer they persist they harder they will be to treat.

People with depression, for example, might only experience a handful of symptoms on a few days to start off with, but if left untreated these may expand and become more frequent.

This can start to affect your daily life, your work, your relationships and your family life, the result of these problems leads on to knock-on effects.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please click on this link for a list of global resources.

Chloe Ward is a mental health expert at Smart TMS.

Author: Chloe Ward

The post Why we need to talk more about mental health issues in the LGBTI community appeared first on Gay Star News.

LGBTI Aboriginal suicide is the issue people are finally paying attention to

two people stand together in front of white screen

Steven Satour knows all to well playing a different character depending on where he is. From business meetings with ‘mainly white older men in boardrooms’ to hanging out with family in regional Australia, he has had to shift his identity constantly.

Satour is an Aboriginal gay man Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara from Central Australia and Townsville in northern Australia. He is a veteran entrepreneur and an acclaimed business leader having founded Iwara Travel Australia.

Not presenting his ‘true self’ came at a cost. Satour’s mental health suffered and so he turned to his best friend, Quinton, for help.

‘Once you do come out, there’s people who haven’t been around gay people or don’t have gay people in the family, it’s hard for them to accept or know what to do, it can lead to a whole range of miscommunications that sometimes made me feel not accepted and not sure how I should be or how I should act,’ he told Gay Star News.

So at 21 he moved to Australia’s gay capital, Sydney, where he met Quinton.

‘He also came from a small community… so we clicked really, really quickly,’ Satour said.

‘As we got to know each other we just had similar circumstances and stories, and our friendship grew.’

But then as his professional life grew, Satour found himself having to again constantly finesse his identity.

‘Getting into the corporate world, and having to be around a lot of older white men in boardrooms, they’re obviously not anywhere near a reflection of me and learning how to be authentic in those environments was really important to me,’ Satour said.

‘And Quinton for me has been that person I can tell everyday “this happened to me”, and he has helped support me through that.’

Stronger Together

Satour and Quinton have now joined forces to promote a suicide prevention campaign for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Run by suicide prevention organization, R U OK?, the Stronger Together campaign has created culturally appropriate resources for the diverse Indigenous communities in Australia.

Stronger Together showcases real conversations in action between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates and role models. The focus is on individuals talking about their experiences and the positive impact that sharing them had while they were going through a tough time.

The campaign focuses on the help-givers perspective as opposed to the help-receiver. Demonstrating how the help-giver asked and what that felt like thus building confidence and hope in communities that everyone can play a role in looking out for one another.

‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have a disproportionately high suicide rate in this country,’  said Katherine Newton, campaign director at R U OK?.

‘Nationally, Indigenous people die from suicide at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people.

‘R U OK? was asked repeatedly by community members to look at a campaign for these communities and sought out advice as to how best support this need.’

Steven and Quinton

That’s exactly why Satour agreed to star in the campaign with Quinton alongside other Indigenous Australians.

‘In Australia overall, Aboriginal people and queer Aboriginal people don’t always get represented in the media,’ he said.

‘When you can see yourself in media you’re more likely to take up those messages and hopefully do them day to day.’

Satour and Quinton really want to help Aboriginal people feel comfortable to open up to their friends and families. That’s even if they’re having major life problems or even if they’re just having a bit of a bad day.

‘When we’re talking about mental health overall we need to have some really specific conversations, about how do you talk to each other and that it’s ok to articulate how you’re feeling,’ he said.

Satour’s advice for helping others was simple.

‘When you see someone going through a hard time, ask the questions, are you ok?,’ he said.

‘And be prepared to sit down and listen to whatever they’re going through. It could be a day to day irritation with work, or something more monumental where they’re suffering through identity challenges.’

LGBTI representation

Including LGBTI people in the Stronger Together campaign is almost unheard of in Australia. Other than the Black Rainbow organization, there are no targeted suicide prevention initiatives for LGBTI Aboriginal Australians. That’s even though anecdotal evidence and comparable evidence from Indigenous communities in Canada suggest the rate of suicide among LGBTI Aboriginal Australians is critically high.

‘Steven’s experience identifying as a gay man is important as research has demonstrated that a disproportionate number of LGBTI Australians experience poorer mental health outcomes and have higher risk of suicidal behaviours than their peers,’ Newton said.

For Satour representation matters, but so does the culturally relevant language.

‘Any campaign with messaging, if you’re not doing it right,you know that community is not taking up your message,’ he said.

‘It’s important to be using the languages we use day to day, seeing people that you’re familiar with who think you might they’re not going through anything, but they’re either gone through it or going through or supporting someone going through something.

We’ve got so much inter-generational trauma and things we’re trying to work through ourselves, but something like this helps to strengthen and encourage conversations between ourselves and our communities.’

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please visit this link of global resources.

Author: Shannon Power

The post LGBTI Aboriginal suicide is the issue people are finally paying attention to appeared first on Gay Star News.

Here’s fun things you can buy with money saved from quitting cigarettes

two kittens on the left photo and white pitbull looking unknowingly at the camera


It’s no secret that smoking cigarettes can cost your health. But it also burns a massive hole in your hip pocket.

Quitting or never starting smoking are the best options. But for those who continue to smoke, there are now more smoke-free alternatives than ever. The Hold My Light website has innovative ways to help quit smoking.

In the UK the average smoker has about 10 cigarettes a day, according to data from the NHS.

So, if the average packet of 20 cigarettes costs about £11 (US$14.60), that means they’re spending about £38.50 ($51.60) a week on smoking cigarettes.

That equals £165 ($218.20) a month and a whopping £2007.50 ($2,655) a year. Imagine all the groovy things you could buy with that kind of money.

There are plenty of ways to quit smoking cigarettes which are highlighted in the Hold My Light campaign. One important trick to beating your cigarette habit is to replace your ‘reward’ of having a cigarette with something else.

We’ve put together some of the coolest, queerest ways you could spend the extra money you’re now saving after quitting smoking cigarettes.

1. Subscription to Netflix, Amazon AND Now TV

Belgian drama film Girl, currently streaming on Netflix, is causing a lot of controversy in the transgender community for its fetishization of trans bodies

Netflix is a major streaming service | Photo: Pexels

With the money saved from stopping smoking cigarettes, you can get premium access to the UK’s three most popular streaming services. For £34.96 per month you could spend hours bingeing your favorite shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime and NOW TV. What a way to distract yourself from cigarette cravings.

2. Sexy lingerie for trans women

GI Collection, founded and designed by Carmen Liu (pictured) is the first trans lingerie brand

GI Collection, founded and designed by Carmen Liu (pictured) is the first trans lingerie brand | Picture: Instagram (@gicollectionuk)

Model Carmen Liu just launched the world’s first lingerie line for trans women called the GI Collection. A sexy set of knickers and bra costs between £40 and £50. The all-important tucking tape is £10.

3. Get potted

lots of different pot plants in front of a white wall

Plants can help clean the air in your home of office | Photo: Patch Plants

Invest in some air purifying pot plants for your home or office. Not only do they look good, but they will detox the air, which you’ll need after years of smoking cigarettes. Patch Plants sell pot plants starting from £6 but have a package of nine of their best air-purifying plants with pots for £368.

4. Start PrEP

The PrEP survey demonstrated people's misunderstandings about the drug (Photo: © Marc Bruxelle | Dreamstime.com)

The PrEP survey demonstrated people’s misunderstandings about the drug (Photo: © Marc Bruxelle | Dreamstime.com)

PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a proven HIV preventative medication. It’s not subsidized on the NHS but you can import generic PrEP from the website PrEPerly. A three-month course costs £89 ($119).

5. Go on the Golden Girls themed cruise – twice

The Golden Girls was a ratings hit for NBCNBC

The Golden Girls was a ratings hit for NBC

The Golden Girls at Sea, will take Golden Girls mega-fans from Miami to several places around Florida and the Caribbean Sea. Miami, of course, is where Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia lived.

Setting sail on 24 February 2020, the cruise costs £755.87 ($1000) for a standard cabin or $1200 for a deluxe cabin. Both include an unlimited drinks package.

6. Cute Pride outfit

a split photo. a headless man in a rainbow pride romper and a a woman in a glittery rainbow crop top and shorts

Cute Pride outfits for the 2019 season | Photo: Getonfleek/Asos

Pride season is right around the corner and we know that it’s better to have your outfits organized months in advance. Not only will you be able to buy multiple cute pride outfits but, you can also show off your healthy skin now that you’ve quit cigarettes. The Rainbow Romper from getonfleek is £60.33 ($80) and ASOS’ high waisted rainbow shorts will set you back £17 ($22.55).

7. Rescue a dog or a cat

two kittens on the left photo and white pitbull looking unknowingly at the camera

Why not rescue a pet? | Photo: Battersea

Sure, taking on a pet is huge responsibility, but at least you’ll be able to afford it once you quit smoking cigarettes. According to a study by Sainsbury’s Insurance the annual cost of a dog is about £1,183 and £1,028 for a cat. Battersea in London is probably the world’s most famous dog and cat refuge. It costs £135 to rehome a dog (£165 for a puppy) and £75 to rehome a cat (£85 for a kitten). By rescuing a pet, you’re not only saving their lives but also will bring a loving companion into your home.

8. Dinner at a Michelin star restaurant

a plate of five star food

A fancy meal is an absolute treat in life | Photo: Alain Ducasse at The Dorcherster

There’s nothing quite like dining out at a fancy restaurant and what better way to spend your new found riches than on a posh meal. Chef Alain Ducasse holds 21 Michelin stars. A tasting menu at his three Michelin starred restaurant, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester will cost you £145.

9. Chest binder

a group of people wearing different chest binders. one person is in front of them sitting and is more prominent in the shot

gc2b makes chest binders by trans people for trans people | Photo: Facebook

Chest binders are a necessary daily step in dressing for trans men and non-binary people. gc2b is a trans-owned company based whose founder makes accessible, comfortable, and safe binding options designed by trans people, for trans people. Although costs vary, a classic gc2b binder starts at £30.

Phillip Morris International is a client of Gay Star News.

Author: Shannon Power

The post Here’s fun things you can buy with money saved from quitting cigarettes appeared first on Gay Star News.