Who Are Experiencing the Highest Levels of Mental Health Difficulties
According to a recent Stats Canada report, gender-neutral populations are experiencing the highest levels of mental health difficulties. The study shows that these individuals are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Sexual and gender minority populations are also at greater risk for suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and the use of substances to cope. This is a worrying trend with far-reaching implications. The gender-neutral community consists of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children, and friends.
How can we best support general-neutral individuals for better mental health?
The first step is learning about the issues that those who are gender-neutral face.
For many people, gender is a simple case of "boy" or "girl." Gender-neutral people may feel like they don’t fit into the traditional gender binary of male and female, or they may feel like they belong to both genders equally. Mental health issues can also arise from physical appearances not matching gender identity.
Gender dysphoria can develop, which is the feeling of discomfort or distress that comes with gender not matching the gender assigned at birth. It is an experience felt by some transgender people and other gender non-conforming individuals. This distress can lead to the development of other more serious mental health concerns.
Regardless of how they identify, gender-neutral people often face discrimination and exclusion from both the male and female genders. This bias can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It can also make it challenging to form close relationships or find a sense of community.
Gender-neutral people may also struggle with self-acceptance. They may feel like they have to choose between living as their authentic selves or fitting into a society that doesn't understand them.
While the world is slowly becoming more accepting of gender diversity, there is still a long way to go in terms of supporting those who are gender-neutral. It is important to remember that there is no wrong way to be oneself. Everyone is valid and deserving of love and respect, no matter how we identify.
Fortunately, there are things that we as individuals can do to support the mental health of the gender-neutral community:
Be an ally! We should all be working on challenging gender-neutral people's discrimination daily. This includes speaking out against bigotry and promoting inclusive policies. Only by doing these things can we hope to improve mental health and wellbeing.
Make sure that your workplace or place of business is inclusive of gender-neutral people, with an environment where everyone feels safe and welcome. Consider implementing policies that specifically protect gender-neutral employees from discrimination or harassment. Gender-neutral bathrooms are also a great place to start. Most importantly, support gender-neutral colleagues and employees in accessing Employee Assistance Programs.
Show support and respect the use of gender-neutral pronouns when talking to or about gender-neutral people. Using proper pronouns helps to validate their identity and make them feel included.
It's important to be accepting and understanding. These individuals often feel like they must hide their true selves in order to fit in. Social acceptance and de-stigmatization are vital in supporting the mental health of trans and gender non-conforming people.
Educate yourself about what it means to be gender neutral and know what community supports are available so you can assist in finding professional mental health support.
What are some Community Supports for Gender-Neutral Individuals?
There has been a growing movement to recognize and support gender-neutral people in recent years. While there is still much progress to be made, there are now more resources available than ever before.
In Canada, there are numerous community-based organizations that provide support and advocacy for gender-neutral people. Transgender Map has a list of resources for each province. These organizations can offer resources such as legal support, counselling, and social events.
A Certified Transgender Care Specialist registered psychotherapist can help individuals work out their dysphoric feelings with a trained gender counsellor. Aligning physical characteristics with hormones and gender confirmation surgery may also help ease feelings of dysphoria.
Finding support groups or online forums can connect people experiencing something similar and help create a mental and emotional support system.
Gender confirmation clinics can provide care and treatment by offering hormone therapy, counselling, and surgeries. LGBTQ and All has a great resource list for clinics and more.
Mental health hotlines and doctors can provide an anonymous and confidential way to get resources and referrals to gender-neutral mental health providers.
The findings of the Stats Canada report are alarming, but they are not unsurprising. Gender-neutral people have long been discriminated against and marginalized by society, which has undoubtedly affected their mental health. If we want to see this trend reversed, we need to start by supporting those who are struggling right now. Only by doing so can we hope to create a more inclusive society that is better for everyone.