Families, friends, and partners should be there for each other through thick and thin, but for some students, they only get one option, or maybe two, and that affects the student’s mental health.
It is hard to imagine that your family may not truly know who you are, but everyone else in your life does. It would be challenging to talk about anything with them when there is a language barrier, as well.
Student Dominique Lee knows this feeling all too well. Lee is a student who identifies in the LGBTQ+ community and she is not afraid to tell anyone. In her own words, “I would tell anyone who wants to actively engage in a conversation with me.” However, the hardest part for her is explaining her sexuality to her parents.
Lee explained, “The language barrier between my family and I is so tough. I just don’t know how to have the conversation with them, literally. I don’t know how I would get the words out because they would not understand.” It is hard for Lee to able to be out for everyone else but her own family members. “I feel if we would have the conversation and I told them, that we would just not talk about it after because we literally could not.”
This would have a strong impact on someone’s mental health if you could not share your life with the people in it.
Mental health is hard as it is. Especially right now trying to cope with distance between all your friends and family. The problem with that is not having the full support you’d like because of the pandemic.
Adding being queer would make it harder because you look at the shame aspect, and you might not be accepted from your friends or family and it would be hard to think about that.
Lee was explaining that, “For some people it is the safety aspect. If your family was not OK with your sexuality and kicked you out, where would you go?”
That would affect your mental health a lot, thinking that your family might not accept you and kick you out, but with being on Lakeland’s campus, there are a lot of queer allies and that makes it easier to have friends who support you and would be there for you.
Lakeland’s campus is a place to find yourself, to find your peace, to find your happiness, to find friends who support you, and to find the education you longed for. Lakeland is an ally and with that, it is a place you would not be kicked out of for being yourself.
Mental health is important to listen to, but you should also always listen to yourself and accept yourself for who you are. There will be people to help you along the way, and they will help you find yourself even more than before.