Unique Mental Health Obstacles to Overcome in the LGBTQIA+ Community

Posted on August 20, 2023 by Corner Canyon Publishing
Unique Mental Health Obstacles to Overcome in the LGBTQIA+ Community

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community face many challenges. As a result of the unique stigmatization, barriers, and trauma experienced, LGBTQIA+ individuals have a specific set of mental health obstacles to overcome. At Corner Canyon Health Centers, we welcome LGBTQIA+ individuals into our mental health treatment programs. We offer safe and effective treatment for the unique mental health challenges faced in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Through intake and treatment, LGBTQIA+ community members are supported on the path to regaining health and happiness in their life in a way that is effective and aligns with who they are. Corner Canyon Health Centers hopes to serve as an example of an effective and supportive community. With caring and supportive staff, our treatment center is a safe environment for all individuals to face mental health and co-occurring challenges like substance use disorders (SUDs).

Challenges Faced in the LGBTQIA+ Community

Members of the LQBTQAI+ community have a unique set of challenges. Many of these are direct or indirect results of social barriers and prejudices that they experience as a result of their sexual preferences or gender identity. These challenges have a direct impact on an individual’s overall well-being and mental health. Overall, members of the LGBTQIA+ community experience more mental health issues and worse treatment options when compared to heterosexual and cis-gendered individuals. 

Social and Legal Barriers

Depending on where a person lives, there are often many social and legal barriers set for members of the LQBTQAI+ community. Legal barriers include the inability to marry a partner or the need to adopt their child due to the lack of rights for same-sex couples. These barriers cause stress and, therefore, can influence a person’s overall mental health by increasing mental health symptoms or causing trauma related to these legal barriers. 

Additionally, social barriers can cause significant challenges as well. For example, members of the LQBTQAI+ community may be unable to join community groups like the parent-teacher association (PTA) due to discrimination. Sometimes social barriers are overt. However, they can also occur in covert ways that are more difficult to pinpoint.

The barriers faced by LQBTQAI+ individuals vary based on location and are consistently changing due to politics. As a result, these social and legal barriers can be even more stressful. Individuals may feel like they don’t know what they will or will not be legally or socially permitted to do both now and in the future. 


Many members of the LQBTQAI+ community experience both external and internal stigmatization due to their sexual preferences, gender identity, and more. Stigmatization is the act of disapproval. This can be seen externally through acts that are meant to shame others. However, stigmatization can also occur internally, where individuals feel they are shameful for who they are. 

When an LQBTQAI+ individual feels stigmatized, they often begin to feel shameful. This can result in hiding who they are, how they feel, and what they need. As a result, their mental health is affected. This is because shame impacts persons feeling that they deserve to heal. However, at Corner Canyon Health Centers, every individual is welcomed and accepted for who they are. This helps individuals of the LGBTQIA+ community begin to heal from both internal and external stigmatization. 


Social stigmatization and prejudices result in many acts of violence. This can vary from physical assault, sexual assault, or verbal acts that create trauma. These acts might be small acts consistently over time or a singular traumatic event. However, trauma impacts how a person feels. This is true both immediate and long-term. Many individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to these traumas. 

The trauma experienced by members of the LQBTQAI+ community will vary. However, it impacts how a person sees themselves and their overall mental health. Not all members of the LQBTQAI+ community who experience trauma will have mental health challenges. However, when LQBTQAI+ individuals experience mental health struggles, it is important to consider the impacts of trauma due to their sexual orientation or identity. 

Lack of Adequate Care

Individuals of marginalized or minority groups are often treated differently by society as a whole and the social system. Health care, for both mental and physical health, is a system that is impacted by prejudices and stigmatization. Therefore, many LQBTQAI+ individuals do not have access to care that helps them to heal. 

The lack of adequate care has a significant influence on the mental health of members of the LQBTQAI+ community. LQBTQAI+ individuals face more mental health challenges, and the lack of safe and effective treatment makes it impossible for them to heal. Corner Canyon Health Centers understands this and offers care that is safe and effective for members of the LQBTQAI+ community. 

Identity Challenges in the LGBTQIA+ Community

Separate from the social stigmatization and prejudices that members of the LQBTQAI+ community face, they also face other unique issues. This includes challenges with identity. Identity is how a person sees themselves. It includes details like personal preferences and self-confidence. When an LQBTQAI+ individual is struggling with aspects of identity, their mental health is impacted. Additionally, these identity challenges make it difficult to find the best path for individualized healing. 

Internalizing Stigmatization

As mentioned above, stigmatization is when a person is shown that they are disapproved of. Stigmatization can lead to violence – verbal, physical, and sexual – that is traumatizing. However, internalized stigmatization is when a person feels shame and guilt about who they are. For LGBTQIA+ individuals, this can be due to a variety of reasons, including social shaming, family disapproval, or the lack of rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. 

However, internal stigmatization leads to decreased self-esteem, which can have a direct impact on a person’s mental health. In both adolescents and adults, low self-esteem is correlated with more mental health challenges. Therefore, internal stigmatization can play a role in an LGBTQIA+ individual’s mental health. Additionally, low self-esteem can lead individuals to think that they are not worth helping or cannot get help. However, this is completely false. Every individual has the right to heal and get the treatment they need. 

Finding the Right Path for You

Choosing the right path for mental health treatment is challenging. This is because there is no one-size fits all method that works for every individual. Therefore, it is important that every individual feel like they are safe to choose the path that is best for them. It is likely that healing from mental health challenges will take multiple different tools like medication, stress management, and therapeutic interventions. 

However, for members of the LGBTQIA+ community struggling with identity or shame, this can be very difficult. If an individual does not feel like their choice or individuality matters, choosing treatment can feel like an impossible task. Corner Canyon Health Centers understands that this aspect of treatment can be very difficult and offers both guidance and safety for individuals to learn and grow into confidently making choices that improve mental health. 

Finding the right path in treatment is helpful. However, it also helps individuals to build skills that improve their mental health long-term. The skills needed to guide and choose the right path are varied. They include social skills like setting boundaries. However, it also includes introspection and the ability to take the necessary time to research and decide what is going to be the best fit. 

Identity Distress

Every individual goes through times of growth and change in their identity. However, when an LGBTQIA+ individual is growing, they may experience discrimination or shaming that creates elongated distress about who they are as a person. This is called identity distress. 

Identity distress can cause anxiety and discomfort around personal choices like choosing a career or knowing sexual preferences. This type of distress can be tied to trauma, and when an individual is struggling with identity distress, it can increase other mental health challenges they are facing. Working with a qualified mental health treatment facility like Corner Canyon Health Centers can help individuals to understand how it interacts with their mental health and how to heal. 

Overcoming Mental Health Challenges in the LGBTQIA+ Community

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community face a unique combination of challenges that impact their mental health. Each LGBTQIA+ individual will have an individualized set of challenges. However, overcoming mental health challenges in the LGBTQIA+ community is important. 

Specialized treatment for LGBTQIA+ individuals needs to offer safety while providing effective treatment that aligns with each individual as a person and their goals. Corner Canyon strives to offer individualized care that takes the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community into consideration. 


A person’s mental health is very personal. Treatment for mental health challenges, including trauma, mental health disorders, or co-occurring disorders, requires that a person delve into their past and present. In order to do so, an individual needs to be very vulnerable with who they are working with, both peers and counselors.

However, due to discrimination and stigmatization, being open for an LGBTQIA+ individual can be nerve-wracking. When an individual opens up and shares their experience, only to be shamed, it often leads to not wanting to be open. Therefore, it is important that mental health treatment takes the history of treatment towards the LGBTQIA+ community into consideration. Individuals need to feel safe from the moment they walk in the door, knowing that they are welcomed and accepted for who they are. 

Effective Treatment for Trauma

While it is not always the case, many members of the LGBTQIA+ community have experienced trauma. For some, this may include repetitive trauma like being shamed or beaten up. However, each individual’s experience of trauma is unique. As a result of the trauma experienced, it is important that LGBTQIA+ individuals’ history of trauma is taken into account and considered as a part of their treatment for mental health challenges.

Effective treatment for trauma and how it has impacted a person’s mental health will vary. However, it often includes a combination of medication and/or therapeutic interventions. Through treatment, individuals begin to heal from their past trauma. They also learn skills to manage any residual symptoms of trauma and how they can best protect themselves in the future. 

Discovering Identity With Effective Treatment

Effective treatment for mental health challenges takes the entire person into account. This means that the current symptoms and the underlying issues are both addressed. For LGBTQIA+ individuals who struggle with their identity, effective treatment incorporates helping them to discover and grow more into who they are. 

Treatment at Corner Canyon Health Centers takes each individual into account. Therefore, treatment is not a cookie-cutter program. Instead, it is aligned with each individual’s view of themselves and helps them grow as people. This may include learning and growing individual identity. However, it also means that the treatment plan will align with each person in terms of identity and goals. 

Effective Care for the LGBTQIA+ Community

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community experience more mental health challenges than those who are cis-gender and heterosexual. Additionally, they also have less access and help from effective care. Essentially, there are both more mental health challenges and less help from them. While Corner Canyon Health Centers is just one facility, the hope is to be a leader who provides effective care for the LGBTQIA+ community. Every individual deserves mental health treatment. 

There are many aspects of mental health care that help it to be more effective. Having well-educated and compassionate staff, a facility that addresses the root causes of issues, and offering care that decreases symptoms while building long-term change are all important. However, for the LGBTQIA+ community, the availability of adequate care is a foundational requirement for effective care for mental health challenges. 

Availability of Adequate Care

Mental health challenges are widespread in our culture. In the LBGTQAI+ community, they are even more prevalent. This is due to a variety of reasons, including trauma, discrimination, and challenges with identity. However, when effective care is available, LGBTQIA+ individuals can heal. 

Having adequate care for members of the LGBTQIA+ community means that there are treatment facilities that understand the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals. Adequate care takes these challenges into consideration and integrates them as part of the treatment program. 

However, adequate care also means being safe for each individual. This means that every LGBTQIA+ individual is not treated the same. Individual needs such as specific mental health challenges, traumas, and histories all need to be taken into account. Whether a person is in the LGBTQIA+ community or not, their lives are unique and need to be considered as such in treatment for mental health challenges. 

Corner Canyon Supports the LGBTQIA+ Community

Overcoming mental health challenges is difficult for anyone. However, Corner Canyon Health Centers understands that LGBTQIA+ individuals face unique difficulties, including trauma, discrimination, and lack of adequate care. Therefore, Corner Canyon takes these challenges into consideration and offers effective mental health treatment that welcomes members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are struggling with their mental health or have a history of trauma. 

Treatment at Corner Canyon Health Centers begins with an intake that helps individuals understand the flow of treatment and gives the staff a solid understanding of what the person is struggling with. During the intake process, members of the LGBTQIA+ community can begin to share their challenges and start the healing journey. 

Once LGBTQIA+ individuals begin treatment, they will have an individualized plan that addresses their unique challenges. For example, an LGBTQIA+ individual struggling with anxiety and a history of trauma due to discrimination will have a treatment plan that takes these aspects of mental health into consideration. This individualized approach is tailored to help each individual feel safe to address their own mental health issues and align treatment to who they are as a person and their unique goals. 

As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you may find that you are encountering high levels of emotional turmoil. The unique challenges that you face can make it difficult to trust a mental health treatment facility. However, at Corner Canyon Health Centers, we understand the difficulties you face and how they impact your mental health. We offer treatment programs on a complete continuum of care, with caring staff that helps you feel safe every step of the way. If you or someone you love in the LGBTQAI+ community is struggling with mental health difficulties or co-occurring disorders, we can help. Call us today at (877) 717-6237 to learn more about our programs.