Whether it’s deciding what path to take in life or dealing with that off-hand remark in Sunday School, the life of a college-aged, LGBT Mormon can be stressful. That’s why USGA had a Mental Health and Self-Care workshop this last Thursday to discuss ways in which we have managed the stress and depression that so often accompanies our unique situation. We started out emphasizing how LGBT individuals are already at higher risk for depression and suicide than our heterosexual peers and advised members to seek counseling to help them process their experiences. In fact, BYU offers free counseling to students, and many members of USGA have had positive sessions with the psychologists there. Next we had a guided meditation focusing on self-love and affirmation through our role as children of God. It was a new experience for many of our members, and hopefully rewarding for some. Finally we broke into groups and discussed what each of us had done to stay grounded on tough days. Answers ranged from a strong network of friends to support groups to writing poetry.
As someone who has struggled with my own mental health difficulties, this meeting meant a lot to me. I’m not sure I would still be here without supportive friends and dedicated counselors. While I still have plenty of challenges each day, overall my mental health has improved drastically as I’ve hashed out my problems and options with friends, family, and professionals. I’m reminded that we need to put our own house in order before we can aid others (D&C 93:44). As we become mentally healthier ourselves, we are better able to help those who come after us.