At present, LGBT teenagers and adults experience mental illness at higher rates than the general population. This imbalance is due to the additional adversity that members of our community are likely to face at various points throughout both childhood and adulthood. Thinking Queerly is a mental-health column written by Kristina Furia (emergewellnessphilly.com), a local psychotherapist, that focuses on the unique psychological and social experiences of LGBT individuals, couples and families. Each month's column highlights a specific aspect of being LGBTQ in the United States and the various effects it has on our mental health and overall experience in society.
When thinking about mental illness and LGBTQ-identified people, mental-health professionals must ask the age-old question: What came first, the chicken or the egg? Regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, about one in five Americans suffers from a diagnosed mental illness; most relate to genetic predisposition as evidenced by conditions such as depression and alcoholism running in families.