How to Cope with Your Mental Health as an LGBTQ College Student
The past few years have been tough for college students, especially with classes going online because of lockdowns. It’s been hard for students to find their communities and cope with the mental health effects of the pandemic. Now that campuses are opening up and students are moving into their dorms, it may be a relief for many, but it can still be a struggle for some.
Having a support system of friends and family is crucial for getting through these times, but for LGBTQ+ students —it can be hard to get the specific help they need. Of course, we all know that stress and anxiety can strike at any given moment. But, for queer students it can have a more significant effect.
Mental Health for LGBTQ+ College Students
According to the Mayo Health Clinic, up to 44% of college students reported having symptoms of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, and about half reported feeling anxious in the past year.
It’s always important to remember that depression, anxiety, and loneliness can be experienced by anyone. So, there’s no shame in feeling any of these emotions. But if you want to know what you, as a queer student, can do to protect your mental peace, here are a few things to consider:
Seek professional help from someone familiar with the queer experience.
Many universities across the country offer free counseling services for students. There are many treatment options, but if you’re a queer student, try to find a therapist who is well-versed in the LGBTQ+ experience. Unfortunately, this may be a rare option in some areas. Still, if you need immediate help, organizations like The Trevor Project have crisis lines specifically designed to help LGBTQ+ people. So, if you need to talk to someone or vent about an issue, click here.
Find an LGBTQ+ support system on or off-campus.
Finding an LGBT-friendly community is vital for queer students navigating college life, whether you’re out and proud or still questioning. To learn about the support available in your community, look and see if your campus has any LGBT centers, clubs, or visit the Campus Pride Index.
If your university doesn’t have any on-site LGBT clubs, see if there are any within the immediate area. Volunteer with local groups or visit queer-friendly spaces. You can even join groups online, or sign up to dating apps, like Her or Grinder.
Be mindful of drug and alcohol consumption
Going to parties in college is all about the experience, and it’s also a great way to meet new people. However, be mindful about the amount of alcohol and drugs you consume. Addiction is very common in the LGBTQ+ community and a lot of queer spaces and groups do to center around substances. So, if you’re struggling mentally and feel like being surrounded by drinking and drugs may impact your health, don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
If you want to learn more about mental health for queer people, you can visit the Trevor Project website.
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