Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Know before you go — Understanding Cultural Differences: LGBTQ+ Community.

May 15 — LGTBQ persons face many mental health challenges, some because of sexual identity, some because of social stigma, some because they are human beings.
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The next Interfaith Coalition for Mental Health luncheon will discuss mental health issues facing LGBTQ individuals. Our friends at the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) discuss some of these issues.

How Do Mental Health Conditions Affect The LGBTQ Community?

Understanding Cultural Differences: The LGBTQ+ Community

Wednesday May 15, 12:00-1:30 pm

Krannert Hall, Indiana Interchurch Center
1100 W. 42nd St. Indianapolis

LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. This fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities, can lead to depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse.

LGBTQ people must confront stigma and prejudice based on their sexual orientation or gender identity while also dealing with the societal bias against mental health conditions. Some people report having to hide their sexual orientation from those in the mental health system for fear of being ridiculed or rejected. Some hide their mental health conditions from their LGBTQ friends.

As a community, LGBTQ individuals do not often talk about mental health and may lack awareness about mental health conditions. This sometimes prevents people from seeking the treatment and support that they need to get better.

Prejudice & Stigma

The effects of this double or dual stigma can be particularly harmful, especially when someone seeks treatment.

Often termed “minority stress,” disparities in the LGBTQ community stem from a variety of factors including social stigma, discrimination, prejudice, denial of civil and human rights, abuse, harassment, victimization, social exclusion and family rejection.

Rates of mental health conditions are particularly high in bisexual and questioning individuals and those who fear or choose not to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity. Though not all people will face mental health challenges, discrimination or violence, many people report less mental well-being and satisfaction.


The LGBTQ community is at a higher risk for suicide because we lack peer support and face harassment, mental health conditions and substance abuse. For LGBTQ people aged 10–24, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely and questioning youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm than straight people. Between 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.

Family support plays a particularly important role in affecting the likelihood of suicide. Someone who faced rejection after coming out to their families were more than 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide than someone who was accepted by their family after revealing their sexual orientation.

Substance Abuse

The LGBTQ community reports higher rates of drug, alcohol and tobacco use than that of straight people. Major factors that contribute to substance use by LGBTQ people include prejudice, discrimination, lack of cultural competency in the health care system and lack of peer support.

An estimated 20-30% of LGBTQ people abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population.

25% of LGBT people abuse alcohol, compared to 5-10% of the general population.


LGBTQ young people face fear, hatred and prejudice in school, with friends, in the community and at home, which can lead to higher risks of self-harm and thoughts of suicide. LGBTQ teens are six times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than the general population. Additionally, LGBTQ youth struggle in coming out to family members, friends, classmates and teachers, especially those that are not accepting of the LGBTQ community.

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network has developed an annual report called the National School Climate Survey, which reports on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in U.S. schools.

Early intervention, comprehensive treatment and family support are the key to helping LGBTQ youth on the road to recovery from a mental health condition. There are many resources available to help teens and young adults, including the It Gets Bettercampaign and The Trevor Project, which provides a national, 24-hr, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth at 866-488-7386. The Trevor Project also provides an online chat and confidential text messaging—text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200.

Disparities In Care

The history of mental health treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) populations is an uneasy one. In the 1950s and 60s, many psychiatrists believed that homosexuality, as well as bisexuality, was a mental illness. Gay men and lesbians were often subjected to treatment against their will, including forced hospitaliza­tions, aversion therapy and electroshock therapy.

Fortunately, there have been great strides made in the nearly 35 years since the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM. Despite this, there are still disparities and unequal treatment among LGBTQ groups seeking care.

Though more therapists and psychiatrists today have positive attitudes toward the LGBTQ community, people still face unequal care due to a lack of training and/or understanding. Health care providers still do not always have up-to-date knowledge of the unique needs of the LGBTQ community or training on LGBT mental health issues. Providers who lack knowledge and experience working with members of the LGBTQ community may focus more on a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity than a person’s mental health condition. 

Other events about mental health coming up

Opioid Crisis – Historical Trauma & Addictions in Urban Communities @ Meridian Event Center
Jun 19 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Join us as we explore options for care, for those in our communities.
Community Building: Resiliency Across Sectors @ Krannert Hall, Indiana Interchurch Center
Jun 19 @ 11:45 am – 1:30 pm

How effective are prison ministries at addressing mental health problems of prisoners during and after their incarceration?

Each Interfaith Coalition for Mental Health luncheon concentrates on a specific mental health practice or accessible tool individuals can use in their congregations. Together, the luncheons outline a “core curriculum” of how best to address basic, ubiquitous mental health needs of faith communities. The curriculum is designed so that individuals who attend every luncheon will be generally equipped and knowledgeable about mental health community resources.

ICMH presents our last event of the Spring 2019 Series: Community Building: Resiliency Across Sectors.

We now ask for an admission fee of $5. Because we have often reached our RSVP capacity, ICMH makes this change to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend. We will accept walk-ins.

Scholarships are available: click here to fill out a scholarship request.

Jerry Webb, left, Jay Cody and Jesse Smith listen during a prayer service led by Deacon Ted Welsh, of St. Joseph Parish in Madison, Tenn. The deacon leads the weekly service for former prisoners who are making the transition back into society after their release. The prayer service was held at the Aphesis House, a halfway house in Madison, which several men in transition now call home. (CNS photo/Andy Telli, Tennessee Register) (Feb. 18, 2014) See FAITH-PRISONERS Feb. 18, 2014.

World Refugee Day: Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes @ Indy Urban Acres
Jun 20 @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes is a simulation created to expose people to the lives of refugees in refugee camps in the first person narrative. Each attendee receives information regarding the details of a refugee’s life and is expected to play the role of that refugee. Ultimately, the goal is to illustrate the challenges and hopelessness that many refugees experience in real life. Although many of us cannot truly share in those experiences, the first step in helping our immigrant neighbors is becoming aware of their struggles.

World Refugee Day at Indy Urban Acres will also include a service project and a community art project, followed by lunch at Old Bethel United Methodist Church down the street. We ask for a $5 donation at the door to offset the cost of lunch. Join us!

Mental Health & Our Community – Featuring Christina Davis @ St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Jun 23 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The first in a series of four dinners hosted by the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Faith Communities. Four different speakers on the topic of Mental Health and how it impacts our lives, homes, and churches.
Black Men and Mental Health (Love Jordan screening) @ Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church
Jun 29 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am

Join us in raising awareness about mental health issues in black men and the African American community through film and discussion. Free Continental Breakfast will be provided.

9:30AM – Doors open for free Continental Breakfast

10:30AM – Screen two short films: Love Jordan and The Comeback

11:00AM – Panel discussion on Black men and mental health with community leaders

11:30AM- End

Film Synopsis:

Love Jordan short film: Ms. Mitchell is the communications teacher at Currentside High. She loves her students and would do anything for them. So when she finds a suicide note signed “Love, Jordan” stating that tonight will be the author’s last night on earth she is determined to find out which of the seventeen Jordans that attend Currentside High it is before it’s too late.

Click the link to see the Love Jordan Trailer

The Comeback: A short documentary about the nationally recognized Champions Bootcamp created by Darryl K. Webster Senior Pastor at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist church. Champions Bootcamp provides:

• Small Groups in a Safe Environment

• Positive Male Exposure & Mentorship • Life-Changing Testimonials

• Fun, Purposeful, Engaging Activities & Life Skills • Affirmations

• Age-Appropriate Biblical Lessons & Personal Application

Learn more about Champions Bootcamp

Enlightened Hope Conference @ Launch Fishers
Aug 3 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Enlightened Hope Conference @ Launch Fishers | Fishers | Indiana | United States

The Enlightened Hope Annual Conference’s purpose is to raise awareness of sexual abuse, to teach prevention strategies for women and for parents with their children, to give tips on how to support a loved one who is healing, and to teach healing strategies for the survivors of sexual abuse. Everyone who attends will leave with a greater sense of clarity, with a list of resources, and with a sense of hope for a better tomorrow!

Substance Addiction Ministry Recovery Mass: Prayer for those struggling @ Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral
Aug 14 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Substance Addiction Ministry Recovery Mass: Prayer for those struggling @ Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral | Indianapolis | Indiana | United States

Addiction touches many people’s lives, but it is something that few of us really discuss. Addiction should not be battled alone! It impacts the individual, family, and community-we all know someone who is affected by an addiction of some sort. Please join Archbishop Thompson and Substance Addiction Ministries of Archdiocese of Indianapolis on August 14 at 7:00 pm for a Substance Addiction Ministry Mass at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral (1347 North Meridian St, Indianapolis 46202), where we will lift up in prayer those who are afflicted and affected by addictions. A reception and refreshments will be available immediately following Mass in the Cathedral Parlor. Please contact us at with any questions.

Church Leader Roundtable – Tackling Hard Topics @ Care to Change Counseling
Sep 17 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am

Care to Change tackles hard topics with church leaders at this quarterly roundtable. September 17th topics include mental health and suicide. How to recognize signs, how to intervene, and how to resopnd when suicide strikes your church. Space is limited and breakfast is provided so registration is required to attend. Registration starts April 30.

Role Modeling @ Krannert Hall, Indiana Interchurch Center
Oct 16 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Role Modeling @ Krannert Hall, Indiana Interchurch Center | Indianapolis | Indiana | United States

A youth representative talking with clergy about what they want, what they want to see from leadership, how they want to be helped; clergy member responding/modeling listening

Second Generation Immigrants @ Krannert Hall, Indiana Interchurch Center
Nov 20 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Second Generation Immigrants @ Krannert Hall, Indiana Interchurch Center | Indianapolis | Indiana | United States

A panel of youth talk about journeys through faith and mental health as second/first gen immigrants

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