If you’re queer, you have your own, individual experience when it comes to mental health issues. That being said, information collected by Statistics Canada suggests that LGBTQ+ individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing mental illness than the rest of the population.
At least half of Registered Psychotherapist Jupiter Vaughan’s clients are members of the LGBTQ+ community.
However, he says, social rejection in particular harms many types of people. “The person who has been told their whole life there's something wrong with them doesn't have to be in [the LGBTQ+] community.”
Even young people with accepting, loving families may experience the trauma of rejection outside the home.
“You're told at home, you're great, you know, this is awesome, but then at school, everyone tells you you're insert-slur-here ... and there's a disconnect,” Vaughan says.
He says an important part of his practice is helping people recognize their own self-worth. Beyond that, he helps individuals process trauma, and helps couples work through their own, sometimes conflicting traumas, so they can build healthy connections.
But it’s rejection at an early age that ties together many of his clients, from all across the spectrum.
“More often than not, it goes back to childhood, when they were told there was something wrong with them,” he says. “And obviously there's nothing wrong with them.”