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CUQSC 2014 Rainbow Brains

Queer and Trans* Mental Health

Jess Mennen

on 9 April 2015

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Transcript of CUQSC 2014 Rainbow Brains

Rainbow Brains
Intersecting the Queer and Trans* communities and Mental Health
Presentation by Jess Mennen and Pamela Sariyannis
Some Statistics
How can we protect ourselves and others?
Suicide Prevention
Why is a mental health workshop relevant to the queer and trans* communities?
Queer people are at double the risk of PTSD as heterosexual people.
Queer youth face about 14x the risk of suicide and substance abuse as heterosexual people
Studies have also found high rates of depression, anxiety, OCD, phobias and self-harm for queer people
77% of trans* respondents in Ontario said they had seriously considered suicide; 45% had attempted suicide
67% of parents of trans* people were reported as "not strongly supportive" - this is correlated with only 45% of these respondents having adequate housing
major depression in Ontario was recently reported for 61% of MTF people and 67% of FTM people
more than 60% of trans* people in Ontario are living below the poverty line
2/3 of trans* respondents in a survey indicated that they had to educate a health care provider in order to receive medical care
Thank you!
Any questions?
Clarifying some Terms
"Mental Health"
Self Stigma
Diagnostic Stigma
Accommodation Related Stigma
Indirect Stigma
What Now?
The Rainbow Baby
Social Stressors
Experience with Health Care Providers
Mental Health
Friends and Family
Positive Experiences
in Health Care
Negative Experiences
Discrimination and Hate Crimes
Student Life
Coming Out
Social Supports
Stereotypes about the Queer and Trans* Communities
Negative Stereotypes about Mental Illness
Support Groups
widely held but fixed and oversimplified images or ideas of a particular type of person or thing.
Negative Stereotypes about Other Groups
the Community
How often do we say something, but are thinking the exact opposite?

Mental Health at Laurier

Not a lot of people know that I have some sort of mental issues, but... I have felt that their approach towards me changed after they learned that I was going through some issues…. [my professor] once said that, you know, he was afraid that I was gonna end up on the street, being one of those crazy ladies.

Diagnostic-based assumptions

In my first couple of years I was pretty lucky in that I didn’t have to tell anyone that I was mentally ill and so I didn’t experience a lot of really, direct stigma. But I think indirectly, just because I would still come across as kind of awkward or quiet.

Indirect stigma

It took like 20 profs saying “you should do an MA” before I actually thought yeah maybe I should! Because it’s just, it seems like something I should be incapable of, like that all I should be capable of is working a crap job when I can and, you know, being in the shelter system… because sometimes I still see myself in that framework where I’m not capable of anything besides being screwed up.

I just think it’s ironic that we pride ourselves on accepting each other – when I feel like we don’t… It’s a facade that we put on as a university.
On-campus climate

People assume that I’m not doing the same amount of work and not putting the same amount of effort into it and that they need to treat me differently because of that... so people think that I’m not doing as much work as the rest of the students here.
Accommodation-related stigma



The Spectrum Conundrum



Mental Illness


Mental Wellness

Know the facts
Be aware of your attitudes and behaviours
Choose your words carefully and listen
Educate others
Focus on the positive
Support people
Include everyone
We all must be leaders for mental health!

F - feelings
E - emotions
A - attitudes
R - reward
T - tells (signs)
A - ask
L - listen
K - keepsafe
Having to out yourself?

Assumptions that problem is transition related?

Sanity questioned?

Possible Experiences
Little Representation
Physical Health
But our system is flawed...
...but people and situations could require different kinds of self care.

How is the expectation that queer and trans* people not experience or talk about mental health challenges unrealistic?
How can we resist this view?
How can we make campus physical/mental health services more inclusive?
Full transcript