A national framework for recovery-oriented mental health services: guide for practitioners and providers

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

Page last updated: 2013

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are adversely affected by multilayered discrimination, marginalisation and stigma. Risk factors for their mental health include violence, bullying or rejection and discrimination from school, family, friends, and workplaces and from society more generally. Risk factors for intersex people can also include rejection and harassment, being forced to conform to gender norms, or pain and scarring from childhood genital surgeries or forced hormone use (Haas et al. 2011).

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people are helped in their recovery by their families, by educational institutions and workplaces, by their friends and partners, and by mainstream services and community-specific support and community groups. Mental health services that are culturally competent can also be instrumental in assisting recovery (National LGBTI Health Alliance 2012).

In demonstrating considerable resilience lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people share a similar narrative with people who have experienced mental health issues, particularly in how they have overcome self-stigma arising from identity issues, loss of self-esteem and discrimination.

Implications for practice

The recovery concepts of self-determination, self-management, personal growth, empowerment, choice and meaningful social engagement are consistent with affirmative practice and with the processes of coming out.

Implications for service delivery

It is important to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people do not feel marginalised within mainstream service delivery—either from service providers or from other consumers. It is essential that peer support programs are inclusive and safe, and welcome all to participate.

Resources

Supporting LGBT lives: a study of the mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (Maycock 2009).