(please note that this is a standardised title. Sexuality is not a mental health issue).
Our sexuality and gender can form a big part of our identity and those who don't fit society's heteronormative ideal can come up against more challenges. Those who identify as LGBTQ+ may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, pansexual, asexual, queer, non-binary or questioning (or, may define their gender and sexuality in different ways). They can be seen as 'different', facing discrimination, bullying and a lack of understanding.
The fact is, being LGBTQ+ does not lead to mental health problems - dealing with other people's adverse reactions does. Because of this, those who don't identify as heterosexual are more likely to experience mental health problems.
LGBTQ+ people can be at a greater risk of developing a mental health condition than those in the wider population. The reasons for this are complex and not entirely understood, however, most mental health problems experienced can be linked to discrimination, bullying, homophobia, biphobia or transphobia. You may experience rejection from those around you, including friends, family and work colleagues.
Understandably, this can have a big impact on your sense of self-worth and your confidence. You may feel the need to hide this part of yourself from others, and this can be damaging in itself. Some people may find they turn to alcohol and drugs to help them cope with difficult emotions.