Mental Health and Recovery Resources for LGBTQIA+ People

Olivia Pennelle
10 min readJun 23, 2021

Those in the LGBTQIA community face many unique challenges in entering recovery. This article discusses those challenges, and offers resources to help overcome them.

Those identifying as LGBTQIA+ face a number of health disparities, one of which is an increased risk of developing substance use disorders. Despite this fact, this population is largely underserved in terms of specific addiction recovery resources that are identity- and sexuality-affirming, and tailored to the types of challenges that the queer community face.

Workit Health’s supervising physician, Dr. Kevin Armington explains, “There are data showing that substance use disorder (SUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are much more prevalent among these communities compared to the general public.”

This guide provides an overview of the LGBTQIA+ community, the unique challenges and obstacles folx face, as well as extensive resources that include addiction recovery support, harm reduction tools, and how to find resources that are affirming of your identities.

What does LGBTQIA Stand for?

For those of you unfamiliar with this acronym, LGBTQIA+ represents a group of individuals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, agender or asexual, and any combination therein. The identities within this spectrum may relate to gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression. For more information check out Acronyms Explained by Outright International.

LGBTQIA Mental Health Facts

In addition to other health risks and a lack of access to resources, LGBTQIA+ individuals also face a higher risk of co-occurring mental health disorders. These include self-harm, suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety, among others. Transgender youth experience higher levels of depression, suicidality, self-harm, and eating disorders. Gay men are three times more likely as straight men to have an eating disorder, and lesbian and bisexual women are twice as likely as straight women to suffer from binge eating.

Olivia Pennelle

Writer. Journalist. Activist. MSW student. Passionate about challenging perspectives on addiction and recovery.