Why mental health awareness is important for the LGBTQ community

by Brooke Lamb


With Nashville becoming more of a cultural hub every minute, the once mostly conservative city has morphed into a progressive mix of all types of folks from all over the country. With this comes a stronger LGBTQ community. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, which just wrapped up in May, Insight Counseling Centers held its second annual mood wall campaign featuring emotion stickers placed throughout Middle Tennessee that passersby could take, wear, and express how they’re feeling. In light of the times, it is especially important for concerned members of the LGBTQ community to realize that what they may be feeling is normal and validated, which is exactly what this campaign aims to do—destigmatize mental health issues and make Middle Tennessee a happier, healthier place for all.


Let’s Get Moody

By keeping a mood wall up in-office year-round, Insight’s clients are able to pick an emotion, identify what they’re feeling, and start that conversation. So much of America’s society has the mindset that you need to think with your head, make rational decisions, and not ever access those deeper parts of yourself that might make life a little messier for you. However, many people in the LGBTQ community have learned to integrate that messy part of themselves into their everyday lives, and while it’s potentially made life more difficult at times, they’re richer for it. Perhaps one of the hardest challenges LGBTQ people face is not only coming out to their loved ones, but coming out to themselves. Recognizing that what they’re feeling and who they are puts them into a marginalized category in our society can be disheartening. Having a strong and accepting community around them, like the burgeoning one in Music City, is key. As a nation, we’re seeing positive changes as people become more educated, but we still have a ways to go, making what we as counselors do even more crucial.


Everybody Feels

Feelings of isolation are prevalent in the LGBTQ community and for those facing mental health issues in general. By aiming to continue that conversation everywhere, from in person to online, and normalize those feelings, the better off we’ll be. Often the first thing people need to hear when they come in for counseling is that they’re not weird, crazy, or a broken individual, they’re just a normal person experiencing feelings that everyone else experiences too. In fact, one third of adults in North America are currently struggling with anxiety issues. Getting the message out that you’re not alone, many others are going through similar mental or emotional struggles, and that you can get help and really thrive, is so important. It’s all about understanding how to create a community and break away from those feelings of aloneness.


Not Just Surviving, but Thriving

After our most recent election, many folks in the LGBTQ community sought counseling. It was very discouraging for many of them who felt that their very being was dismissed. Due to this, and the mental health issues we all regularly face, community and connection are a cornerstone in treating these feelings—staying isolated will often times perpetuate feels of shame or unworthiness. Share who you are with your friends and people you trust. Start creating that community where you know you’re accepted and who you are is okay, and where your personhood is not going to be denied, but celebrated. Seeking out a counselor who is open and inclusive, who supports and is willing to help people of all lifestyles, such as at Insight Counseling Centers, is especially important. The LGBTQ community needs to know that they’re not alone and there are lots of us who are standing by, ready to help. They need to know that they too, deserve the highest level of care and respect.


Brooke Lamb is a staff counselor at Insight Counseling Centers



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