Mental Health Advocates from the LGBTQ Community

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Mental disorders are now recognized as a leading health issue in today's world. This has not always been the case as the stigma of mental health isolated many and society shied away from support. The World Health Organization reported that in 2019 one in every 8 individuals, or 970 million people, lived with a mental disorder. These range from anxiety, eating disorders, and depression to post-traumatic stress, neurodevelopment disorders, and schizophrenia.

Socio-economic factors play a big role in determining the mental health of the LGBTQ community. These include social inclusion, freedom from discrimination and violence, and economic stability and well-being. All of these are challenges faced by the LGBTQ community, as they are by most minority groups. The American Psychiatric Association reports that LGBTQ individuals are more than twice as likely as heterosexual men and women to have a mental disorder in their lifetime - half have experienced depression, and three in five have experienced anxiety.

Mental health challenges are particularly prevalent in the transgender community. Lack of support from friends and family engender feelings of isolation and transgender individuals continually face threats of physical violence and harm, bias, discrimination, prejudice, and more.

A key advance in the progress of the LGBTQ community and mental health has been the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness. Gay individuals Richard Green and John Richard Nichols were at the forefront of this activism in the United States. Other countries have followed their lead. Of pressing concern to the community now is the banning of conversion therapy.

There are many LGBTQ psychologists and psychiatrists on our list. Others are activists, politicians, charity leaders, writers, and health administrators.


  • Jason Ball, mental health advocacy with Young and Well CRC
  • Georgie Harman, Chief Executive Officer, Beyondblue (a mental health organization).
  • Lex Watson, activist with CAMP (Campaign Against Mental Persecution)
  • Jennifer Westacott, Chair of the Mental Health Council of Australia.



Great Britain



  • Gavan Hennigan, mental health activist.
  • John McNamara, Chair of the charity Community Creations.
  • Gearoid Towey, Founder of Crossing the Line Sport - an organisation dedicated to athlete mental health.

New Zealand

  • Elizabeth Kerekere, produced the first major research on mental health and the culture of on the takatāpui whānau.


  • Diriye Osman, writer who explores mental health in his work.

United States

  • Michael Angelakos, founder of the mental health advocacy group 'The Wishart Group'.
  • Mary Barber, Co-editor, Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health.
  • Robert Paul Cabaj, Medical Director of Mental Health Services, San Mateo, California.
  • Laura Erickson-Schroth, Psychiatrist, NYU Medical Center.
  • Richard Green, lobbied to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.
  • Scott Harms Rose, President, Institute for Clinical Social Work.
  • Christine Hallquist, Chaired the Sterling Area Services Mental Health Board.
  • Pamela S. Hyde, US Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Allison Ikley-Freeman, mental health counselor and therapist.
  • Rebecca Isaacs, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
  • Rosemary Ketchum, National Alliance on Mental Illness.
  • Wilfred Labiosa, worked in state, national, and international projects that focused on mental health.
  • John Richard Nichols, lobbied the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from their definition of mental illness.
  • Ron Schlittler, Program Coordinator, American Psychological Association’s Office on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.
  • Andrew Solomon, Special Advisor on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Mental Health at the Yale School of Psychiatry.
  • Henry van Ameringen, personal foundation focuses on mental health issues.

See Also

Further Reading/Research

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