How can LGBTQ+ young people and their carers improve their mental wellbeing?
In the first part of this series for LGBTQ+ History Month, Assistant Psychologist Ruth Spencer-Lewis wrote about emotional wellbeing in the LGBTQ+ community.
If you’re an LGBTQ+ young person or caring for someone who is, this second article is all about giving you tips to help improve your emotional wellbeing. Please take note of our disclaimer at the end about knowing the risks online and staying safe when browsing content.
Find other young people like you: Youth groups, online resources, and community
You are not alone. At times it may feel like it, but there are other young people experiencing similar things to you right now. COVID-19 may have prevented groups from gathering face to face, but most are still going ahead online. Gendered Intelligence runs support groups for trans, non-binary and questioning young people and Metro Youth has various groups for LGBTQ+ young people living across London. Hearts and Minds run a peer support group for LGBTQ+ young people and Stonewall Youth website has resources and ways to get involved with campaigns.
When things in the world start going back to normal, PRIDE events around the country will start up again, including Pride in London and UK Black Pride. These are great events to feel well connected and have a good party!
Find LGBTQ+ people in the media for inspiration
There’s never been a better time to see LGBTQ+ role models in the public eye. Maybe boxing is your thing, like it is for us at In Your Corner? Out and proud in the world of boxing is Nicola Adams who was the first woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing, and Terri Harper who at only 24 is a current world champion. Patricio Manuel became the first transgender man to professionally box in the USA in 2018.
Get outdoors, move your body, look after your mind
Looking after yourself (body and mind) is the most important thing, especially during lockdown. When you can get outdoors, breathe in some fresh air and go to some green space. It’s easy to get consumed in our own thoughts, especially when we are spending a lot of time in front of a screen. Moving your body really does help. This could be a walk, a kick about with a mate, PE with Joe Wicks, or a sports game on your games console. Whatever it is you like to do, doing something each day can really boost your emotional well-being and is good for physical health too. If you’re interested in apps for your wellbeing, the NHS apps library has a range of apps for supporting emotional wellbeing that you can check out here.
Books, podcasts and YouTube might help you feel connected.
You may think reading is not for you and something you only have to do at school. But find a book that you love, and you may find a window to a whole new world. Some suggestions of where to start are below. What are you excited to read?
· The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
· Love Frankie by Jaqueline Wilson
· The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
· “Proud” is an anthology of stories written by LGBTQ+ young adult writers
Podcasts can be a great way to feel connected to the community, learn and keep up to date with what’s going on in your favourite topics. Check out Just Like Us which is for LGBTQ+ young people discussing various topics. Mental Music is a podcast made by young people for young people discussing a wide range of topics that affects young people’s mental health with some music too. Although not an LGBTQ+ podcast, episode 34 is on LGBTQ+ and mental health.
YouTube can be a great way to find content and to follow your fave LGBTQ+ influencers. There’s James Charles, a beauty Youtuber, and Tom Daley, a Team GB Diver. You could also check out the rapper Lil Naz X; and JoJo Siwa, a performer.
This article has mentioned a few ways we as LGBTQ+ people can feel more connected to the community and to increase emotional wellbeing. Use these to empower yourself and you may find you end up inspiring and helping others. Be proud of who you are.
Before you search for any content please be aware of how to keep yourself safe online by visiting https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/. It’s important to know the risks online and how to ensure your safety. In Your Corner does not endorse or recommend any of the services or resources listed in this article, and makes no statement as to their quality. It is the responsibility of the user to verify the suitability and standard of any listed services or resources.