Many of us go through life solving our day-to-day problems without needing help to cope with our feelings. But a severe illness, an accident or an emotional crisis can overwhelm us, at least temporarily, and suddenly we need help.
Are you in crisis?
From 6-10pm daily, you can also call the Durham Pride Line at 1-855-877-7433.
This helpline is aimed at providing emotional support, crisis intervention, and community referral information specific to the concerns and issues of LGBTQ people in Durham Region who are:
- Questioning or confused about their sexual identity or orientation
- Experiencing troubling or suicidal thoughts who may be identified as LGBTQ
- Experiencing bulling or isolation and feel that this may be a reaction to their sexual identity or orientation
- At risk of homelessness or other dangerous situations due to disclosing their sexual orientation (may be asked to leave the home)
- Are experiencing problems at work due to their LGBTQ status
- Are being “Gay Bashed”
- Are a parent or sibling of someone who is LGBTQ identified and you have questions or simply need to talk about how you are feeling
- Are looking for referrals to LGBTQ “friendly” services
- Are a professional and looking for more information on LGBTQ issues
The LGBT Youth Line is a toll-free service provided by youth for youth (up to age 26). It also provides online peer-support through the online forum and email response. The Youthline operates Sunday through Friday, 4pm to 9:30pm, call 1-800-268-9688 or visit their website.
More resources are listed below.
20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. “Just like everyone else, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people also experience mental illnesses. (…) However, GLBT people may face unique risks to their mental health and well-being, which mental health providers should be aware of.
Most research suggests that GLBT people are likely to be at higher risk for depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. One study found that GLB groups are about two-and-one-half times more likely than heterosexual men and women to have had a mental health disorder, such as those related to mood, anxiety, or substance use, in their lifetime.
In a national study comparing GLB and heterosexual groups, researchers found that gay and bisexual men were more likely to report major depression and panic disorder in the previous twelve month period. Lesbian and bisexual women were more than three times as likely to have experienced generalized anxiety disorder.
The reason for these disparities is most likely related to the societal stigma and resulting prejudice and discrimination that GLBT face on a regular basis, from society at large, but also from family members, peers, co-workers and classmates.”
“Socio-economic factors (or determinants) play a key role in mental health and well being for all of us, and are particularly important for marginalized populations. Three significant determinants of positive mental health and well being are: social inclusion; freedom from discrimination and violence; and access to economic resources.
All three factors impact LGBT individuals and communities in Ontario:
- Bisexual and trans people are over-represented among low-income Canadians
- An Ontario-based study found that half of trans people were living on less than $15,000 a year
LGBT people experience stigma and discrimination across their life spans, and are targets of sexual and physical assault, harassment and hate crimes
- Hates crimes motivated by sexual orientation more than doubled in Canada from 2007 to 2008, and were the most violent of all hate crimes
- An Ontario-based study of trans people found that 20 per cent had experienced physical or sexual assault due to their identity, and that 34 per cent were subjected to verbal threats or harassment
- Trans people in both Canada and the US report high levels of violence, harassment, and discrimination when seeking stable housing, employment, health or social services
Additional factors that may impact on mental health and well-being for LGBT people include the process of “coming out” (sharing one’s LGBTQ identity with others), gender transition, internalized oppression, isolation and alienation, loss of family or social support, and the impact of HIV and AIDS.
LGBT individuals may experience multiple forms of marginalization or disadvantage at the same time. For example, an individual’s experience may be shaped at the same time by their sexual orientation, racialization, gender, disability and income (e.g. a bisexual South Asian woman may have an anxiety disorder and be living in poverty).
Intersectionality refers to an approach by which intersecting experiences of marginalization and the needs of the whole person are considered.
There are multiple ways that intersectionality impacts the mental health of LGBT people. For example, LGBT people may experience other forms of marginalization – such as racism, sexism, poverty or other factors – alongside homophobia or transphobia that negatively impact on mental health. Additionally, an individual with a mental health condition who is also an LGBT person may face added challenges in accessing mental health services that are appropriate and inclusive and may face discrimination on the basis of both disability and sexual orientation.”
“In the youth LGB population, studies found that they are 2-6 times more likely to to have suicidal behaviours such as self harm, suicidal thoughts or attempts.”
First and foremost, Durham PFLAG is perhaps the most well-connected group in the region to support you and to direct you to further resources as needed. They host monthly meetings in Oshawa and Ajax, parent workshops, a summer camp for youth (13+), and much more.
Another LGBTQ youth (13+) summer camp is hosted by the Welcome Friend Association.
The Ajax Youth Centre hosts weekly Colours drop-in sessions for LGBTQ youths aged 13-20, and a free, first-come-first-served, walk-in counselling service, which can help with urgent matters, when too often counselling involves long waiting lists.
The Family Navigation Project at Sunnybrook is a non-profit program designed to provide expert navigation of the mental health and addictions service system for youth aged 13-26 with serious mental health and/or addictions problems.” Call 1-800-380-9367
Jer’s Vision offers various workshops and youth conferences.
The Durham AIDS Committee is well-connected as well, and can help you find support. It is important to know that HIV & AIDS are treatable, even though there is no absolute cure. The fastest rate of infection in Ontario is amongst teens and young adults, so education, prevention, and harm reduction are key. Get tested. Be informed.
The Positive Care Clinic at Lakeridge Health Whitby, operates 8am-4pm Monday through Thursday, and offers further confidential, multidisciplinary support for HIV and Hepatitis C care, testing, and counselling. Call 1-800-303-2420
The Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention is another helpful resource. “Talking about suicide is the first step to prevention. When we take the stigma away we can then begin learning and understand how we can help ourselves and others who are thinking of suicide.” They have many support links.
Other LGBTQ support organizations are listed here.
For those facing the death of a loved one, Durham Hospice offers free counselling for children and adults.
Teaching is one of the top three most stressful jobs in Ontario, and depression is a problem for many of us; our union has many suggestions on how to cope, as will your family doctor. Please seek assistance as soon as possible, whether for yourself or a loved one.
DDSB POLICY STATEMENTS
Our employer has several policies on supporting LGBTQ students, and mental health.