With a growing importance being put on taking care of your mental health, it is good to recognise how your identity can be very much tied into wellbeing too.
Even though conversations and openness around sexuality and gender identity are becoming more common, we still have a long way to go, and with that in mind, LGBTQ+ may feel isolated, confused, or maybe even scared within their identity. I myself am bisexual, and definitely experienced mental health struggles that were directly linked to my identity and the journey of self-discovery that took me on, and moving to a new city made me nervous because I did not know what the LGBTQ+ community or acceptance level of the public was going to be like.
Here are some tips and pointers that as an LGBTQ+, you can take or try and implement to make sure you are feeling as good as possible. Your well being is very important!
Surround yourself with people who are supportive
If you’re struggling with your mental health, the last thing you need is to be in an environment or surrounding yourself with people who do not support or accept you. This may be harder to achieve in other circumstances such as a home setting, but at university, you get to pick your friends and it is very important to say goodbye to anyone holding you back! There are so many great people out there to meet and the ones that aren’t so good are not worth your time.
Also, if you’re an ally (a person who does not identify as LGBTQ+ but supports all sexuality and gender identities), maybe offer a helping hand to your LGBTQ+ friend if you notice they are struggling! A friendly face and a shoulder to lean on can sometimes be just what they need.
Contact someone if you feel you are struggling
There are times when people feel they may need a bit more support than just friends or family, or maybe you don’t want to confide with anyone in your life and that is completely okay! There are helplines, charities and support systems you can go to seek counselling, advice, or just a cup of tea and a chat, and a few that are specifically catered to LGBTQ+ people so you can feel safe and comforted by the fact that they will have experience and also that is a completely safe environment.
A few examples of these are:
- The Wellbeing Centre – they offer drop-in sessions where you can go and talk to someone about any concerns
- Stonewall- 0800 0502020
- Samaritans- 0330 0945717 (not LGBTQ specific, but confidential and a well known helpful number if you need support)
- University of Lincoln LGBTQ+ Society- a place where you can go to socialise with other LGBTQ+ people but can also go for advice and to seek friendship
- Your doctor or GP will be happy to talk to you and support you. No medical professional is legally allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexuality or gender
- Switchboard LGBTQ- 0300 330 0630
Find specifically LGBTQ+ spaces
Finding other people who are similar to you means you will also probably find others are feeling, or have felt, similar to you too. As well as finding solace in LGBTQ+ spaces, it gives you the opportunity to form great friendships, and become a part of the LGBTQ+ scene and community in Lincoln!
Some examples of LGBTQ+ spaces are-
- Scene – a queer nightclub located in Lincoln town centre.
- University of Lincoln LGBTQ+ society – a society at the university for LGBTQ+ people to come and have a chat, discuss topics, and have fun.
- Lincoln’s gay outdoor club
- Lincoln’s alternative LGBT is an organisation that sometimes hold events!
- Also, online forums and groups are available! A quick google will show you a range of cool things you can be a part of.
Finally, you are great just the way you are! You deserve to feel safe and good, and no matter how hard things get, there is always someone or something out there available for you. You matter!