SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A new study says members of the LGBTQ community who live in the South are reporting higher rates of anxiety and depression.
The study was published this month by an organization based out of North Carolina in partnership with the Southern LGBTQ Health Initiative.
The survey shows LGBTQ people aren’t just struggling with their mental health, they’re also struggling to find help. So, News 3 found out what resources are available for those in our community.
“I’m tired of being judged on who I am, I am tired of my family not supporting me,” said Britt Stone.
Stone prefers pronouns “they” and “them.” Stone identifies as non-binary, meaning they don’t consider themselves male or female.
“I remember being about 28 years old coming out of a therapist’s office crying because I was told I was going to go to hell,” said Stone.
When people with stories like Stone’s come through the Savannah LGBT Center, Licensed Counselor Laura Dowling is usually there to listen.
“Until very recently we had no resources in Savannah and they are very limited now—we are making baby steps and its amazing,” said Dowling.
A survey of nearly six thousand adults across 13 states found that LGBTQ people are thinking more about suicide.
They are also struggling with access to reliable healthcare because professionals, especially in the South, aren’t trained to deal with their specific needs.
“This is something that is very real for more than half a million people in the south that are transgender,” said Dusty Church. “This very real that they will oftentimes will not be able to go to a doctor that understands these specific health issues that they need to address.”
Church is the Executive Director of Savannah’s Pride Festival. He said the LGBT Center is a one-stop-shop. If professionals here can’t help you, they’ll connect you to someone who can.
“When I walked through the doors today and I didn’t get questioned about why I’m binding or why I look the way I do or should dress girly I was like maybe, maybe this actually is a good place,” said Stone.
If you know anyone looking for help the LGBT Center is located on Bull Street in Savannah and they provide everything from health services to advocacy and support.