EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — One in four US adults deals with a diagnosable mental health disorder. Oftentimes, that disorder is depression which can be a serious challenge to living your best life.
That challenge is even more daunting when you also face disparities and hurdles associated with being LGBTQ+. Now, a new campaign is helping clear those hurdles.
“My body shut down. It just could not handle it anymore,” said Ren Fernandez-Kim, who is living with depression.
Living life as LGBTQ+, Ren Fernandez-Kim didn’t realize her overworking obsession was a sign something was wrong.
“It wasn’t until I hit a breaking point in college where I realized I was working way too hard and realized that I was actually running away from my depression,” explained Fernandez-Kim.
Depression is difficult for anybody, but especially when dealing with stigma, rejection, and discrimination.
“Being a nonbinary person but appearing fem, I have my own battles to struggle with in that intersectionality as well as being a marginalized person, being half Korean, half Peruvian,” stated Fernandez-Kim.
“It is not easy to find resources in a place where you can go and get peer support, see yourself represented, learn about depression and also get providers if you don’t have one,” explained Amir Ahuja, MD – Psychiatrist/Director of Psychiatry at Los Angeles LGBT Center.
That’s where ‘Depression Looks Like Me’ comes in. The new campaign partners with LGBTQ+ and mental health advocacy organizations to point those in need toward mental health resources.
“That’s such an important factor because we want more representation whether it looks like me, whether it looks like someone else,” Fernandez-Kim said.
“Whether they have a diagnosis of depression or not the trauma that you can experience as an LGBTQ+ person, the discrimination, the isolation, all of that can lead to adverse mental health outcomes,” stated Dr. Ahuja
Dr. Ahuja, who’s also LGBTQ+, urges those in the community to reach out to ‘Depression Looks Like Me’ and know they are seen, heard, and not alone.
“We know it affects everything about your life. It affects functioning. It affects your physical health. It affects the way you interact with the world and your ability to live up to your true potential,” stated Ahuja.
“If you want help and if you need help, there should be no shame in that,” said Fernandez-Kim.
A study shows that 60% of LGBTQ+ adults experience mental health challenges today.
‘Depression looks like me’ can help that community and really anyone who needs help. Learn more about the campaign on their website.