Christmas is traditionally called the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by many, but what some don't see or realize is that for many this may not be true. This can especially be the case for those a part of the LGBTQ+ family. The winter season can already bring on depression, as many suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but the holidays can bring a new wave of anxiety and depression.
According to Paloma Woo, Senior Crisis Services Manager at the Trevor Project, they state that they have a higher volume of calls to their LGBTQ suicide hotline during the holiday season. Many calls are due to the fact that the holidays means going home to a possible toxic family situation, which can cause a lot of pain for those who do not feel accepted and loved because of their orientation. Some may even have no home to go back to because they are unwelcome back. This, in turn, makes many anxious, lonely, and depressed for the holiday season. Which results in increased therapy visits and extra calls to hotlines for more individuals, especially LGBTQ youth.
Even for those who are not going home to a toxic or problematic environment, there can still be little things that easily weigh one down. For instance, some have to deal with confused families that may misgender them, which can really wear one down and remind them of something they aren't happy about. The family may not even do it on purpose, but it can still affect the mental health of individuals. Others feel the holidays can just be uncomfortable and a burden due to the family not knowing what to say, individuals, fearing they make the holiday uncomfortable, or just feeling excluded.
Thankfully this is not the case for all, some have a very supporting and loving family to spend the holidays with. Filled with their own traditions and their own individual wonderful holidays. Either way, let your LGBTQ friends know you are there for them this holiday season and don't let any of them feel alone. And to those that do, reach out to a trusted friend and know that you are not alone in your struggle.