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Gender dysphoria and mental health

June 24, 2024

Gender dysphoria is a sense of unease that someone feels when their biological sex doesn’t match their gender identity. When a person isn’t comfortable in their own body, or they feel as though they aren’t living life as their true selves, this can be extremely difficult and they may experience a mental health issue as a result. People with gender dysphoria may also encounter difficult experiences, like stigma or discrimination that can take a toll on their mental health (read more about this here). This can contribute to them developing problems like:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety, including social anxiety
  • Depression
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Loneliness
  • Just to be clear, gender dysphoria isn’t a mental health issue and it doesn’t cause mental health issues, but rather the experiences that someone with gender dysphoria might have means that they’re more likely to develop a mental health issue.  

Getting support

If you’re experiencing a mental health issue as a result of gender dysphoria, it can help to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. This doesn’t mean that you have to tell them everything if you’re not ready. Opening up to someone can be relieving and can help you to feel less alone.  

If there isn’t someone in your life that you can talk to, there are helplines that you can phone. Samaritans’ listening service is open 24/7 and you can call for free on 116 123. There are also helplines set up specifically for LGBT+ people:

LGBT Foundation offers advice, support and information for LGBT+ people: 0345 3 30 30 30

  • Mermaids supports gender-diverse young people aged 19 and under, plus their families or carers: 0808 801 0400
  • MindLine Trans+ is a free, confidential listening service for people who identify as transgender or non-binary. Friends and family can also call: 0300 330 5468

Taking care of your mental health by prioritising self-care

It's totally normal for our mental health to have its ups and downs. By taking proactive steps and practising self-care, we can help manage our feelings and hopefully prevent lows or spirals before they happen.

Self-care can mean different things to different people, but essentially it means looking after yourself, physically and mentally. This could include getting plenty of sleep, or making time for an activity that allows you to unwind and recharge, like meditation or reading.

If you feel that your mental health is unmanageable, it’s a good idea to go to your GP and find out what your options are. They may suggest talking therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy.  

At ieso, we offer typed CBT for a range of mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. Our service is non-judgemental, confidential and flexible. Patients can speak to a therapist online by typing back and forward, or we can offer video calls in some locations. Find out more about what we do.

ieso Online Therapy
This blog has been written by a member of the clinical team at ieso.

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