Presentation Title

The Impact of Coming out as LGBTQ+ on Mental Health

Start Date

April 2020

End Date

April 2020

Major Field of Study

Global Public Health

Student Type

Undergraduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Brett Bayles, PhD, MPH

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

The LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination and negative social stigma. Societal attitudes towards this population have led many members of the LGBTQ+ community to mental health issues at higher rates than the general population. For many community members, an integral part of being LGBTQ+ means identifying with this community, which often involves “coming out” or disclosing one’s identity as a part of this process. The process of coming out can be extremely vulnerable, and without sources of support, mental health issues are more likely to be experienced.

The goal of this research is to use a qualitative approach and visual epidemiological approach to analyze the link between mental health and coming out as LGBTQ+. YouTube videos were quantitatively analyzed, exploring the phenomena of peer support for the LGBTQ+ community online and LGBTQ+ coming out experiences.

This research indicates that coming out as LGBTQ+ is a vulnerable process for most. It reveals the lack of awareness and acceptance of this community, detrimental to one’s mental health. Many individuals that are LGBTQ+ experience fear and anxiety surrounding coming out, even if they know they will be accepted. Individuals that come out in an unsupportive environment, specifically those rejected by their parents, are at greater risk for experiencing mental health issues later in life. By researching the phenomenon of coming out for LGBTQ+ community members, this research provides support for the LGBTQ+ community, especially for those questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity.

Comments

This presentation was accepted for the Scholarly and Creative Works Conference at Dominican University of California. The Conference was canceled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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The Impact of Coming out as LGBTQ+ on Mental Health

The LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination and negative social stigma. Societal attitudes towards this population have led many members of the LGBTQ+ community to mental health issues at higher rates than the general population. For many community members, an integral part of being LGBTQ+ means identifying with this community, which often involves “coming out” or disclosing one’s identity as a part of this process. The process of coming out can be extremely vulnerable, and without sources of support, mental health issues are more likely to be experienced.

The goal of this research is to use a qualitative approach and visual epidemiological approach to analyze the link between mental health and coming out as LGBTQ+. YouTube videos were quantitatively analyzed, exploring the phenomena of peer support for the LGBTQ+ community online and LGBTQ+ coming out experiences.

This research indicates that coming out as LGBTQ+ is a vulnerable process for most. It reveals the lack of awareness and acceptance of this community, detrimental to one’s mental health. Many individuals that are LGBTQ+ experience fear and anxiety surrounding coming out, even if they know they will be accepted. Individuals that come out in an unsupportive environment, specifically those rejected by their parents, are at greater risk for experiencing mental health issues later in life. By researching the phenomenon of coming out for LGBTQ+ community members, this research provides support for the LGBTQ+ community, especially for those questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity.