The transgender community has to deal with discrimination and stigma in many forms. That bias and bigotry can lead to the development of mental health issues and make existing concerns more severe.
Transgender mental health is a crucially important topic. The additional risk factors that so many members of this community face need to be addressed. Learning more about transgender mental health in Canada can be the first step to finding effective support.
Understanding Transgender Identity and Gender Dysphoria
We want to be as clear as possible: Being transgender is not a mental health issue. Personal identity is exactly that — a personal truth and determination of self. Other people’s opinions and feelings are irrelevant to your personal sense of gender identity and your true self.
Gender dysphoria involves identifying with a gender that’s different from the gender and sex assigned to a person at birth. When gender dysphoria causes significant issues in everyday life, it meets the criteria for diagnosis and treatment.
Whether or not you experience those issues, your desire to transition to your true gender identity is valid.
Transgender Mental Health Issues in Canada
The Canadian Mental Health Association explains that the transgender community faces both discrimination and issues related to the social determinants of health. These external problems place additional stress on transgender individuals and can lead to mental health issues.
Harassment, a lack of acceptance in the community and workplace, and identity-based violence are just a few examples of these problems. The mental health issues they create and aggravate, like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, are common across all people. However, the causes themselves are unique.
Research published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Adolescent Health shared this finding related to transgender mental illness statistics. “Transgender youth had a higher risk of reporting psychological distress, self-harm, major depressive episode, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada made a similar statement on the 2022 Transgender Day of Remembrance. “Transgender and gender diverse people in Canada are more likely to experience violence and inappropriate behaviours in public, online and at work than cisgender individuals. Transgender and gender diverse are also more likely to report poor mental health and contemplate suicide.”
The Importance of Trans Mental Health Support
Positive, gender-affirming mental health support is crucial for addressing and managing the unique causes of issues faced by transgender people. With the right counsellor, you can identify specific issues and build healthy responses and coping mechanisms to deal with them.
Accessible counselling is crucial in this regard. An easy path to counselling helps you focus on treatment itself, instead of the logistical issues of scheduling appointments and travelling to a provider’s office.
Wellin5’s online counsellors are equipped to provide professional mental health support to anyone, anywhere in Canada.
Feeling like you need support? A Wellin5 counsellor is available.