Gender Identity and mental health
Experiences with your gender may affect your mental health. You might be questioning and exploring your gender, transitioning between genders, or thinking about transitioning. For some, this can be a confusing or difficult time.
My gender identity also affected my mental health, because at first I just felt really, really confused, and it left me feeling like I was incomplete. Asher
Unfortunately, some people experience bullying, hostility or discrimination if their gender identity is not similar to the people around them. Experiencing this, or hearing about these experiences from others can mean you don’t feel comfortable or safe sharing your gender.
Constantly carrying these emotions and making these decisions can be exhausting, and you may find it makes everyday tasks like eating, concentrating at school/work, engaging in conversation, or getting good sleep very difficult. You may also find it leads to feelings of:
- wanting to hurt yourself, or suicidal thoughts
Tips to look after your mental health
Talk to someone
If you’re struggling, it can help to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Speak to someone you feel comfortable with, like close friends, parents, a counsellor, a mentor or anyone else you trust.
Write it down
If you don’t want to speak to anyone about your gender identity just yet, or you’re worried about people’s reactions, try writing down how you’re feeling. Getting your thoughts out can help you feel better and help you figure out what’s going on for you.
Find role models
There are lots of people, whether they are people you know or influencers online, that can help you to feel positive and empowered. It can help to see other people like you who are going through a similar journey.
Tips to help
Looking after yourself
Sometimes when people have mental health problems they might forget or lack energy to take proper care of themselves. It is still important despite feeling low to maintain a healthy diet and get the right amount of sleep! Exercise has also been found to improve mood!
Talk to someone about how you are feeling
It can be really easy to isolate yourself from other people and spend more time on your own with your thoughts. It might feel like the easier thing to do, but we know that sharing your thoughts and feelings helps relieve some of those feelings and make things feel a little better.
You could talk to a family member or close friend about how you are feeling – having someone to listen really does help!
Other people you can talk to
If you don’t feel like talking to someone you know you could always try reaching out on the below sites who can offer chat services or more information.
Young Minds A really good website with expert articles, advice and blogs and a crisis text-line.
Self-care tips for young people. Watch these videos on dealing with unhelpful thoughts, sleep, social media, anxiety, exercise and more
Happy Maps have produced reliable resources recommended by Parents and Professionals.
BESTIE is an exciting, interactive online platform, designed to help young people to find out more about emotional wellbeing and mental health and to get the right help when they need it.
Here2Help will provide support for people of all ages and is available for both residents and organisations to access information, advice, tools, guidance and local support available to them or others in the local community based on their needs.
Worcestershire Young Carers provides a wide variety of mainly community focused support for people and are often described as the ‘glue’ between those at risk of social isolation and the wider mainstream society.
Herefordshire Young Carers Club provides support and respite for children and young adults who are caring for a family member with an illness, disability, mental health issue or problem with drugs or alcohol.
Barnardos protect, support and nurture the UK's most vulnerable children
Need to talk to someone?
If you are a child or young person and need some mental health help please talk to someone about how you are feeling. If you don’t feel you can talk to a family member or someone at school, consider some of the helplines or text support below. You are not alone.
The wellbeing and emotional support teams in schools service is designed to help children and young people ages 5-18 years access mental health and wellbeing support early on in educational settings. It's all about ensuring children and young people can get access to the right help as early as possible.
The Reach4Wellbeing team supports and promotes the emotional wellbeing of young people and parents of primary school age children through interactive online group programmes, using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles.
Other helpful links
Kooth is a really good website which offers online counselling and support by text, e-mail or by chatting on the forum for ages 10-18 years.
The Blues Programme is an internationally acclaimed wellbeing programme for young people aged 13-19. Over six weeks, it teaches emotional resilience, and reduces low mood and anxious thoughts. Crucially, it gets teenagers talking.
Worcestershire Chat Health offers is a service where 11-19 years olds can text 07507331750 to speak to their School Health Nurse for confidential advice and support around a variety of issues, including bullying, emotional health, relationship problems, alcohol and drugs.
YoungMinds Textline offers you free, 24/7 text messaging support wherever you are in the UK. If you need someone to talk to about how you’re feeling, text YM to 85258.
Other worrying symptoms might include hearing voices, feelings of unreality, becoming very angry or violent, showing signs of an eating disorder or becoming very withdrawn. If you are a young person experiencing such thoughts, please talk to someone about how you are feeling and if you don’t feel you can talk to a family member, consider some of the helplines or text support. You are not alone.
If you are expressing suicidal thoughts, you should also see a doctor as soon as possible. Many people express suicidal thoughts because they are feeling overwhelmed and may not really want to act on them, but it is still very frightening.
Need help quickly?
If you have taken an overdose or self-harmed and you are concerned that the cuts are very deep or there is serious blood loss go to A&E or call 999.
Emergency help and helplines
Herefordshire and Worcestershire 24 hour urgent mental health helpline.
Whether you feel your mental health problems have become much worse or are experiencing problems for the first time, you may need help quickly. You can phone the mental health helpline for urgent advice: 0808 196 9127 (free phone 24 hrs a day 365 days a year)
The team will offer advice, support and, if required, an assessment to understand how you are feeling. When calling the number, you can expect to speak to Mental Health Advisors and/or trained Mental Health Clinicians who will be able to listen to your concerns and help make appropriate plans with you to support you.
This service is available for people of all ages, and accessible to friends and family of someone in distress too.
If you just need to talk, any time of day or night
These services offer confidential advice from trained volunteers. You can talk about anything that's troubling you, no matter how difficult:
- Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: email@example.com for a reply within 24 hours
- Text "WOO" in Worcestershire or "HERE" in Herefordshire to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line
- If you're under 19, you can call 0800 1111 to talk to Childline. The number will not appear on your phone bill.
- Are you a young person in crisis? Visit the Young Minds website for more support.
Alternative local support
- Worcestershire Safe Haven provides telephone support and face-to-face appointments to Worcestershire residents who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Call 01905 600400 any day of the week between 6pm and midnight for support and signposting.
- Herefordshire Mind Safe Haven if you find yourself in crisis or need urgent support with your mental health, the Safe Haven is a safe and friendly place that you can come and access mental health support and advice.The Safe Haven telephone and email support service is available every evening, 7 days a week, from 5pm to 10pm; call 01432 372407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.