Sometimes life can get difficult. It's like that for anyone whether we are gay or not. But sometimes being gay presents particular difficulties because heterosexuality has such a strong influence in the world.

Being gay in a world that is mostly heterosexual can be challenging. Most of us find we need support from time to time whether it be from friends, groups of others that share our interests or professional services.

We asked a number of counsellors: What are the main things that your clients talk about in relation to their sexuality? Here is what they listed:

Fitting in   -   Feeling good about myself   -   Being accepted by my friends / family   - Finding a partner    -   Making friends   -   Problems with alcohol and drugs    -   Sexual expectations

When we are under pressure, experiencing stress or changes in our lives, these problems can start affecting our mental health. Some of the signs that your mental health may be suffering are:

  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Not experiencing any pleasure from activities
  • Drinking more or taking drugs to forget
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Problems getting to sleep, staying asleep or waking too early
  • Feeling irritable or cranky for no reason
  • Frequent and strong changes in mood
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Just because you are experiencing one or more of these does not mean you have a mental illness. But it can mean that your mental health is not the best it has been. Here are what the counsellors suggest you can do:

  • Try to be around some other people even if it just a public place like a library or park
  • Some people find writing about their problems can help them to avoid dwelling on them.
  • Deal with one thing at a time
  • Doing something for others can help you forget your problems
  • Get daily fresh air and exercise and try getting closer to nature (walking in a park or forest)
  • Eat healthy food and drink water
  • Read about 'sleep hygiene' on the net (improving your sleep)
  • Be easy on yourself if you are going through a hard time
  • Talk to yourself in a kind way (called 'positive self-talk')
  • Find something you can enjoy doing everyday and make it a priority
  • Sometimes cleaning up your room or house can help you feel better
  • Keeping a journal of your good days as well as the bad ones can keep things in perspective
  • Read about mental health on the net
  • See your doctor
  • Talk about it: speak to a friend or counsellor or get support from a group
  • Remember that the unhappy feelings will pass in time
If you think your mental health could use some support, click here to find a counsellor or take a look at these links to sources of support online.

Being Gay is OK is UK based and provides free information and advice if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure and under 25 years old. There is a problem page and forum you can use to talk to others.

Reach Out is an information site for young people where it is possible to connect with others and get support. It isn't just for gay people, but they are gay friendly and have gay people contributing to the site.


A UK site with resources for mental health and some information for gay people.

PACE is a London based mental health organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Married & Gay An American site providing information and support for gay people who are or have been married to straight people.

GAMMA Australia The Gay & Married Mens Association for support and information.

Mogenic An online community & information portal for gay young people


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