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[Infographics] Why is it so hard for LGBTQ Malaysians to get Mental Healthcare?

By Queer Lapis | October 15, 2020

This year’s World Mental Health Day was especially important. Covid-19 has affected us all especially marginalised communities like ours. With the increasing stressors of not only grappling with the pandemic but also marginalisation, we felt it was important to put a spotlight on LGBTQ mental health. Here is a series of infographics created for us by Nicole Fong entitled ‘The difficulties LGBTQ people face getting mental healthcare in Malaysia”.

It goes deep into some of the reasons why people from our community might find it hard to get the help they need and includes research by Suhakam and Galen Centre. It also unpacks the issues related to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines on “gender health problems”. Finally, it contains some recommendations on some ways you could get help if you need.

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š—Ÿš—šš—•š—§š—¤ š—®š—»š—± š—ŗš—²š—»š˜š—®š—¹ š—¶š—¹š—¹š—»š—²š˜€š˜€ š—¶š—» š— š—®š—¹š—®š˜†š˜€š—¶š—® Many Malaysians still believe that being LGBTQ is a mental illness. All major international health organisations have debunked this. However, LGBTQ people do face a higher risk of mental illness, especially in Malaysia. Discrimination, rejection, and criminalisation all leave LGBTQ people vulnerable to stress and poor living conditions. When we do reach out for help, some of us are met with mockery and insults by medical and mental health professionals. If we’re especially unlucky, they try to “convert” us to become straight and cisgender. This #WorldMentalHealthDay, let’s take pay more attention to the mental health of LGBTQ people. Learn more about the problems they face, how we can change our society to be safer and more accepting of differences, and how you can get queer-affirming support if you need. Illustrations by @nicolefws Affirming mental health professionals: @your_soul_mechanics @themindpsat @theredclinic LGBTQ orgs: @pluho_org @gsakk_ig @pelangicampaign @seedmalaysia Emergency hotlines @befrienderskl +60376272929 @womensaidorg +60379563488 @awammalaysia +60162374221

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We’re proud to say that these infographics managed to reach a lot of people, but at the same time, it caught the attention of trolls who left harmful comments on our social media pages. We’ve responded to some of them in a separate post and managed to get some words of encouragement from others were equally appaled by the comments. Trigger warning: Suicide, homophobia, transphobia.

Comments like these ironically prove our point that LGBTQ people face mental health issues due to discrimination and hate, and why it’s so hard to get help in the first place.

If you feel that our infographics are helpful, do download them here and share them with people who might need them!