After more than two years of challenges, communities are gathering again as the warmer weather brings with it the return of outdoor events and a variety of celebrations. This past Sunday, the health department attended the 3rd Annual Putnam Pride in Brewster. The event included speakers, vendors, and music to raise awareness and show support for the LGBTQ+ community. Speakers at the event discussed the importance of LGBTQ+ identity and visibility and the positive impact community support can have on marginalized populations.
While June is known for “Pride,” it is essential that efforts to improve the health of the LGBTQ+ community are made year-round. While one in five American adults experience a mental health condition, with one in 20 adults living with a serious mental health condition, LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender-identifying, face even higher rates of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety than heterosexual individuals. LGBTQ+ youth also experience greater risk for mental health conditions and suicidality than their heterosexual peers.
Supporting mental health is vital to maintaining overall wellness. Mental health conditions can impact one’s physical health, especially for those that face prejudice and discrimination due to their gender or sexual identity, race or ethnicity. Providing the proper resources and support for populations that typically experience barriers to healthcare can improve health equity, expand access and boost health outcomes. Although common, feelings of stigma related to a mental health condition or mental health struggles may still be associated with shame and/or judgement, making it more difficult to ask for help, navigate care or seek treatment.
Along with utilizing appropriate mental health resources, performing self-care can make a mental health condition more manageable. Practicing self-care can be different for everyone, but may include developing a good nighttime sleep routine, setting goals for yourself, starting a hobby, and more.
Resources on Mental Health and LGBTQ+ Support:
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Putnam County: www.namiputnam.org
- Provides support, resources, and information regarding mental health
Mental Health Association in Putnam County (MHA Putnam): www.mhaputnam.org
- Provides information and referrals regarding mental health
Dutchess Pride Center: www.dutchesspridecenter.org
- Advocates for LGBTQ+ community and provides support and education
- Offers help and outreach through support groups and social events throughout Dutchess County
For more information on Putnam Pride, visit www.putnampride.com.