Celebrating Pride Month 2023

By Ashley Barnes

What is Pride Month?

LGBTQ+ Pride Month is celebrated in the United States to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which transpired in New York at the end of June 1969. Resultantly, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the positive impact LGBTQ+ people have had on culture and society as well as accomplishments they have achieved. Further, Pride Month commemorates the ongoing pursuit of equal rights and justice for the greater community as well as sub communities within the LGBTQ+ sphere. 

Great ways to celebrate pride month include attending pride events, having open conversations, and supporting LGBTQ+ businesses and art.

Messages from our team.

The Mental Health Center supports and appreciates the LGBTQ+ community, not only in the month of June but every day. Our company strives to make the patient experience inclusive and sensitive to patient needs, honoring all identities.

Speaking more on the Mental Health Center’s support of the LGBTQ+ community, Dr. Ellie Mizani noted that “supporting the LGBTQ+ community means supporting everyone’s right to love and be loved.” Dr. Mizani is one of our incredible child and adolescent psychiatrists as is a co-founder of the Mental Health center. 

Dr. Sarah Mourra, one of our cherished geriatric psychiatrists, shared that “it is an honor and privilege to work with our patients in a manner that respects their identities and experiences, particularly as they may often be confronting situations in which they have been invalidated and stigmatized. Understanding and respecting the experiences of our LGBTQ+ patients and understanding the social injustices that they often confront on a daily basis is a key part to providing sensitive and holistic care in their path to wellness.”

Jennifer Bieler, LMFT, one of our beloved psychotherapists, expressed her hope that readers attend Pride celebrations, noting that “it’s the best way to celebrate and support; you would brighten up the crowd!” Jennifer Bieler has prior experience working at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and provides a Transgender Support and Empowerment Group for Adults. 

The LGBTQ+ community.

Before understanding LGBTQ+ mental health, we must understand the community and their needs. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersexed, asexual (LGBTQIA+) community describes a diverse range of identities and expressions of gender and sexual orientation; oftentimes, this larger community is also referred to as the LGBTQ+ community. There are many sub communities which have unique experiences and challenges. In addition to these various identities and expressions, a person’s intersectionality (the overlapping aspects of a person’s identity such as race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion) impacts how they experience the world.

LGBTQ+ mental health.

In honoring pride month, it is also crucial to recognize LGBTQ+ mental health. It is important to note how different aspects of our identities relate to our mental health and for those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community, gender expression and sexual orientation may greatly influence mental health. Though not all identities’ mental health has been researched, studies have found that LGB adults are more than twice as likely to experience a mental health condition than heterosexual adults; similarly, transgender adults are almost four times as likely to experience a mental health condition than cisgender individuals (NAMI, 2021). 

LGB youth also report experiencing feelings of sadness and hopelessness which are more frequent than their heterosexual peers; compared to cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and questioning youth, transgender youth are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms, consider suicide and attempt suicide (NAMI, 2021). According to the American Psychiatric Association, LGBTQ+ individuals “are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals” (2021). Though the LGBTQ+ community is composed of many strengths, the community is also riddled with higher risk of presenting with mental health conditions. 

We must consider that this is largely due to a long history of discrimination against those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community, which entails homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, hate crimes directed at these communities, harassment, physical and emotional abuse, and bullying. This trauma and the often resulting identity-based shame contribute to mental health issues in the community. Further, when LGBTQ+ individuals seek help for their mental health, many have been met with harassment or lack of cultural competence from physicians which further contributes to marginalization. 

How to help.

It is critical that mental health providers be culturally competent and LGBTQ+-friendly to provide a welcoming environment to those belonging to the community. In this way, mental health professionals can be allies while also combatting LGBTQ+-related discrimination, providing competent care to all patients. When searching for a mental health provider, it may be easier to find those who have a general competency in LGBTQ+ issues than those who specialize in LGBTQ+ care, though many psychiatrists and therapists do specialize in LGBTQ+ care. 

Mental health providers often outline their experience or specialization on their company websites or online profiles on Psychology Today. For transgender individuals seeking a mental health provider to write a letter of support for gender affirming medical care or legal documentation change, it is advised to seek a provider who understands the insurance and legal requirements of such support letters (NAMI, 2021). In sum, seeking help from affirming clinicians makes the healing journey more inviting, comfortable, and inclusive. 

Please reach out to the Mental Health Center for inclusive and affirming mental health care.

LGBTQ+ Mental Health Resources.

TED Talks.

Additional Resources for Pride Month.

  • Library of Congress – LGBTQ+ educational resources, including in-depth information on  LGBTQ+ individuals’ contributions to the arts and sciences throughout United States history.
  • Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health – provides resources such as LGBTQ+ specific help lines.
  • PFLAG – provides support, information, and resources for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and for allies.



American Psychiatric Association. (2021). Diversity & Health Equity Education. APA. Retrieved December 30, 2021, from https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/cultural-competency/education/lgbtq-patients 

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2021). LGBTQI. NAMI. Retrieved December 30, 2021, from https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/LGBTQI