One of the most urgent and critical mental health issues in LGBTQ communities is the rate and intensity of suicidal distress for trans and non-binary people.
21 years ago we started offering mental health advocacy support to LGBTQ people. One of our first clients was Sarah. She came to us in crisis, extremely distressed. Sarah had recently lost her job of 10+ years in an accountancy firm, two months after her partner had ended their relationship, leaving her homeless. For a while Sarah had ‘sofa surfed’ but increasingly couldn’t bear to ask friends for support when all she could do was sit and cry.
Anti-depressants helped a bit, at first, but as her circumstances worsened Sarah felt more and more desperate. A serious attempt to end her life resulted in her being admitted to the local psychiatric hospital. When she came to MindOut she had been discharged, they ‘could do no more for her’.
Sarah was trans. Her partner and work colleagues had been brutal when she had the courage to come out to them. Three months later she took her own life.
I’ve never forgotten Sarah and the tragedy of her preventable death. She was rejected and ridiculed by people who mattered to her. Statutory services let her down. Our communities let her down, there was nowhere safe for her to go.
Last year MindOut supported hundreds of trans and non-binary people, 90% of whom experienced suicidal distress. There is no doubt that the publicity surrounding trans lives and the effects of the pandemic have increased the stress, distress and despair of trans people.
Trans awareness must be about celebrating the incredible lives of amazing trans and non-binary role models and role models are very good for our mental health. There have been great changes for the better for many of us, but let’s also be aware how quickly those changes can be lost, and let’s be aware that for many of us our lives are still blighted by prejudice, ignorance, poverty, discrimination and loneliness.
At MindOut we are proud to offer mental health support for trans and non-binary people, our Trans Advocacy Service is dedicated to the memory of Sarah and to all trans and non-binary people who have lost their lives in tragic circumstances.
In addition to trans advocacy, all MindOut services are available for trans and non-binary people regardless of where they are in their transition and can support you with any and all mental health issues.