LGBTQ+ mental health campaign wants people to know they’re seen, heard and not alone

Depression can sometimes go unnoticed and undiagnosed, but one campaign is behind the push to get mental health help to members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Depression Looks Like Me campaign aims to connect people with culturally sensitive resources.

“LGBTQ+ adults are about three times as likely to have a mental health condition as their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts,” said Dr. Amir Ahuja, director of psychiatry at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “So in our community, we really have to be more vigilant about that.”

Because symptoms of depression can look different for everyone, the campaign features a variety of faces representing depression from the community.

“So people could see themselves in these messages and in these stories, and realize maybe what they’ve been dealing with is a mental health issue,” Ahuja said.

Ahuja said members of the LGBTQ+ community are two and a half times as likely to seek treatment but sometimes don’t know where to go.

The Depression Looks Like Me website lets people search by ZIP code for vetted LGBTQ+ community centers and trusted primary care providers, professionals, specialists, therapists, dentist and other health professionals.

People should feel comfortable with the professionals giving them care, Ahuja added.

“It’s hard enough to talk about mental health and depression as it is. So we don’t need more barriers,” he said.

Ahuja recommends people find a provider they like and trust to do mental health and wellness checks as part of routine yearly physicals.

“We want to make sure that you live your best life,” he said. “And if this is getting in the way, it’s something that you can address.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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