Supporting someone who is LGBT+

This page is for anyone who wants to support an LGBT+ person with mental health problems. 

A good support network helps all of us have higher self-esteem and better mental health. This is especially true for LGBT+ people, who may be facing extra challenges.

This page gives some suggestions on how you can be supportive. 

Someone outside the LGBT+ community who supports LGBT+ people is sometimes called an ally

Don’t make assumptions

Everyone’s experience is different. Try to avoid making assumptions based on what you already know about mental health problems or LGBT+ issues. Instead, ask the person how are they doing. 

Listen to their experiences

Growing up with a different sexual or gender identity means it’s likely they have faced negativity. They may feel worried to open up and speak about their experiences. Giving them space to talk is important.

Show them you care

Internalised homophobia, biphobia and transphobia means many LGBT+ people struggle with low self-esteem. It may seem obvious to you that you care about them, but they may not realise this. Try to find ways to show them you care. For example, write them a card, cook them a meal, or take them out somewhere they’d enjoy. 

Support them to seek help

You could reassure your loved one that it’s OK to ask for help, and that there is help out there. Even if it’s not always easy to find. If they would feel more comfortable using an LGBTIQ+ service, you could help them research one.

See our page on helping someone else seek help for more information.

Join a support group

A range of groups exist to support parents and friends of LGBTIQ+ people. 

Read about LGBTIQ+ issues

Many organisations have advice for anyone looking to support LGBTIQ+ family members or friends. 

Learn more about their specific problem

If you are supporting a friend or family member with a specific mental health diagnosis like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, you can look up more information about it on our website.

Our A-Z of mental health lists our resources on different mental health diagnoses and experiences. All these resources include a page of tips for friends and family.

Take care of yourself 

Looking after someone who is struggling can be stressful. Remember that your mental health is important too. For more information on how to look after yourself, see our pages on:

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