The physical distancing, economic strain and housing instability fueled by Covid-19 are exacerbating the disproportionate mental health needs of LGBTQ people.
Sydney Duncan, 44, an attorney in Alabama, has been so focused on managing the increased legal needs of her clients that she rarely has time to address her own mental health needs, including her anxiety.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Duncan has devoted nearly her whole waking day to her work at Birmingham AIDS Outreach, an Alabama nonprofit. Helping her transgender clients obtain vital name changes has become a prolonged process due to court backlogs piling up, helping them acquire driver’s licenses has become harder while Social Security offices are closed, and increased unemployment among the community she serves has complicated a variety of services her nonprofit provides.
“We’re so busy trying to resolve other people’s issues — which objectively are more pressing than anything I have going on in my life — that it’s hard to slow down and feel the weight of the problems in your own life,” Duncan said.
Duncan, who is transgender, is among many LGBTQ Americans grappling with the added strain of the coronavirus crisis as they continue to adjust to a “new normal.” Meanwhile, the United States is poised to deal with a third spike in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, nine months into the pandemic.
Prior to the global crisis, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans were already at greater risk of mental health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This elevated risk — due to a host of factors, including stigma and discrimination — combined with a global health crisis that has upended life as we once knew it, is presenting unique challenges for LGBTQ people.
“The physical distancing, economic strain and housing instability caused by Covid-19 have the potential to exacerbate these barriers among LGBTQ young people,” Dr. Amy Green, vice president of research at The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization, told NBC News.
Read the rest of the article on NBC News here.
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