We all deserve to enjoy life, no matter what our gender identity or sexual orientation

We celebrate our diversity in the LGBTI* community, and it should never be a barrier to getting the support you need when things get tough. There are people who understand you and can help you find a way through.

Your needs are important

The sad truth is that even though LGBTI people and takatāpui experience depression or anxiety just like everyone else, it can be harder for us to get the help we need to get through it.

Many of us still regularly experience discrimination and rejection. Discrimination can happen in many ways. Some of this is very obvious and some of it is subtle and possibly unintentional. It may include name-calling, bullying, and exclusion by peers or whānau, or even job loss or missing out on healthcare services.

This prejudice and discrimination can leave you feeling you’re less important than your peers. It can be very stressful and cause feelings of shame, isolation, lack of confidence and trauma from living with a sense of chronic stress.

LGBTI: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex, takatāpui, fa’afafine, or asexual people and other sexuality and gender diverse people.

Finding someone you can trust

The most important step for anybody having problems with mental health, is to talk (kōrero) to someone you trust about the way you’re feeling. Trust can be a big issue for many LGBTI people, but often it only takes one person to help you along the path to wellbeing. There are ways you can find someone to help in different areas of your life:

Working with the health system can be particularly tricky if you’re LGBTI and have specific health needs. Try asking any of the LGBTI or takatāpui networks (at the bottom of this page) for a reference to a ‘safe’ practitioner. Be prepared to seek a second opinion if you think you haven’t been treated fairly.

The cultural or religious expectations of your whānau can make life hard too. However, many religious communities now have groups that are LGBTI and takatāpui affirming.

It’s not often that coming out is a one-off, rite of passage. For most people, it’s a challenging experience. It may be a lifelong process, and sometimes it’s not possible at all. You can choose to do it gradually, or just pick people you trust to discuss your real identity. It takes a lot of energy to keep up a front. By having at least one person you can be honest with will give you a chance to talk (kōrero) about how you really feel.

People who get you and can help

Most LGBTI people and takatāpui find it far easier to understand and accept themselves when they meet and get to know other people who have been through similar experiences. Developing a sense of connection with others from LGBTI and takatāpui communities may help to overcome any feelings of isolation and loneliness.  There are organisations within these communities that understand what you’re going through and can help with mental health issues: 

Affinity Services offers help in navigating mental health services for LBGTI people.

0800 OUTLINE (688 5463) is a free nationwide phone counselling service staffed by trained volunteers.

Gayline lists New Zealand’s gay organisations and gay-friendly services. It also has articles for people newly exploring their sexuality.

Takatāpui: Part of the Whānau provides information and support for takatāpui and their whānau.

Rainbow YOUTH supports young people with a drop-in centre, peer support, advocacy, a library and other resources.

ITANZ provides information, education and training for organisations and professionals who provide services to intersex people and their families.

Equasian is a social support group for people from all parts of the Asian region.

Village Collective builds a supportive environment for the Pasifika Rainbow community.

What next

Have a look around the rest of this site to learn more about depression/anxiety and what you can do about it.

Other people's stories

I set my own expectations

I created a safe space