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It isn’t easy being LGBTQ, even in places offering full legal protection. Even if you have those protections in place, being openly LGBTQ can cause you to be targeted in many different ways, including by members of your own family. 

For LGBTQ people living in places where active discrimination exists, the dangers, and the stresses of being out or having to stay closet can cause a wide range of mental health issues.

This is especially true during the current pandemic with research showing that LGBTQ people are at much higher risk for health problems than the straight majority.  And if you are dealing with mental health issues, finding the right kind of help can be a significant problem.  

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Why Are LGBTQ people Vulnerable to  Mental Health Issues? 

There can be numerous reasons that mental health problems can occur. For example, despite greater acceptance in recent years for GLBTQ people in recent years, being part of a marginalized population is always stressful.

All too often, the blatant discrimination that many LGBTQ people face, especially transgender adults and youths, can leave scars that last a lifetime. 

Even in places providing legal protections, being openly LGBTQ often deals with facing “microaggressions”  from friends, family, and strangers.

Whether it comes in the form of snide remarks or open hostility when people in your life find out you are openly LGBTQ, that stress can build up over time.

And the stress can be even greater for those who choose to stay closeted, whether just at work or even with family members, since the pressure of leading a double life is often devastating.  

Another problem stems from what can be called “internalized heterosexism.” No matter how old you were when you first realized that you were different, you likely spent a significant part of your life being raised to believe that only opposite-sex love could be considered  “normal.” 

That includes the countless movies and television shows feating opposite-sex relationships with same-sex love being rarely if ever, mentioned.

Though this is slowly changing, far too many people still consider themselves  “damaged” because their lives aren’t like they were raised to believe was acceptable. Even when you outgrow these beliefs, they can still stay with you and can sabotage the way you choose to live your life.

Then, there is the coming-out process itself. Certainly, coming out is scary, no matter how old you happen to be.  If you have support from family or friends, the coming out process can be a little easier but telling the world the truth about yourself is always going to be stressful.

Though people who are openly LGBTQ are typically much happier and healthier than those who aren’t, coming out is a  decision that you can only make for yourself.   Which is another reason you should reach out for help, before, during, and after coming out.

Another source of potential stress comes from the various health problems linked to being LGBTQ. Along with familiar health concerns such as HIV, we are also in the middle of a massive pandemic affecting the lives of billions of people.

Research looking into how the current pandemic has been affecting many LGBTQ individuals has turned up some surprising findings. Living during a pandemic can mean constant uncertainly and worrying about health, something that can have a major impact on the mental health of people already dealing with anxiety.

The same can apply to any other major crisis, including serious illness, employment problems, financial problems, or a relationship breakup.  And this is especially true for LGBTQ people, many of whom are reporting COVID-related stress problems in addition to other concerns.  

More LGBTQ people than ever are experiencing issues that they can’t resolve on their own, especially during a pandemic that never seems to end. But many people are reluctant to seek help from a trained counselor or therapist.

That can be due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues making many people afraid of being labeled “crazy” or, they may have had had bad experiences with counseling in the past.

There is also the question of paying for this treatment through more health plans than ever provide coverage. And so, instead of seeking therapy, people may turn to other sources, including self-help books, online videos, or talking to a friend or family member.

Although there is nothing wrong with these options for some issues, more severe problems are going to require professional help.  

How Can I Find An LGBTQ-Positive Therapist Near Me?

But it is also essential to find the right kind of counseling. Considering how important counseling can be for  LGBTQ-related problems, many counselors don’t have the right training or experience.

Worse yet, three are still counseling with their own prejudices when it comes to LGBTQ issues who can do more harm than good. Especially if they try forcing those prejudices on you believing they are “helping.”

Although organizations such as the American Psychological Association have formal guidelines for LGBTQ treatment guidelines, not every therapist is going to follow them.  

Finding local LGBTQ-positive counseling may be more difficult if you don’t happen to live in a large city. Far too many people may be forced to travel long distances just to see a counselor which is often impractical. Still, there are options you can try exploring.

For example, if there is an LGBTQ community center in your area, you may be able to find one or more counseling that they recommend though this can be hit-or-miss at times. Many local universities also have treatment centers offering low-cost treatment.

Typically involving graduate students offering counseling under the supervision of a psychologist, these clinics can be an excellent option considering that the student counselors are familiar with the latest research and treatments.

Again though, if you are living in a rural area or somewhere without a strong LGBTQ presence, finding a local counselor might be a problem. 

Even if there is someone in your area, there are many people who feel uncomfortable seeing a counselor face-to-face.  For many other LGBTQ people, it might be necessary to travel to another city to see a compatible counselor.   

But there is another option these days. E-counseling using Zoom, email, texting, or other online services allows clients to connect with counselors from the privacy of their own homes has become increasingly popular.

With the pandemic and social distancing, e-counseling has become more essential than ever for countless clients seeking the right kind of therapy to address their needs.

And that includes allowing clients living in rural areas to connect with LGBTQ-positive therapists without the worry and bother of finding someone locally.  And more health care plans than ever are covering e-counseling sessions though no-cost treatment options are also available.

As one example of the LGBTQ-positive treatment options available online, consider Pride Counseling and what it has to offer.

What is Pride Counseling?

Designed as a one-stop solution for LBGTQ individuals seeking help, Pride Counseling may be the answer for all your treatment needs.  

Pride Counseling is an online platform allowing video, text, and email-based treatment right from your own home with the counselor of your own choice.

Providing a roster of therapists from across the country, including ones who are even in your area, the Pride Counseling network uses state-of-the-art technology to make treatment simple and affordable.   And with complete confidentiality

To start with Pride Counseling, click on the link at the top of the article After answering a few confidential questions about your mental health concerns, the pronouns you prefer, and how a therapist can contact you.

Pride Counseling will do the rest.  Based on your needs, Pride Counseling will find you a qualified therapist who will then contact you directly.

Each therapist has extensive training in the latest treatment techniques and years of experience in how to help you.  From that point on, you are the one who decides how the treatment should be conducted.

Whether it’s through live chat, messaging, phone sessions, or video calls, the choice is purely yours.

How Much Does Pride Counseling Cost?

The cost of therapy through Pride Counseling usually ranges from  65-87 USD  per week and is billed every 4 weeks. Treatment usually continues until you and your therapist mutually agree that your treatment is complete.

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Still, you are free to cancel your membership at any time for any reason.

As for how long the counseling lasts, that often depends on you and your issues. Since everyone is different, there is no way to tell how long the treatment process might be.

If you have issues requiring more specialized counseling, such as substance abuse or suicidal thinking, your counselor might refer you to someone else better qualified to help you handle it.

And there might be new issues arising along the way since we all encounter life crises once in a while. Your Pride Counseling counselor will be right there to provide the necessary guidance. 

So contact Pride Counseling today and get started toward a healthier and happier future.   Remember that the treatment is under your control and full confidentiality is always guaranteed. 

Dr. Vitelli

Romeo-Vitelli

I am a psychologist in private practice in Toronto and Hamilton.

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