“I have had mental health therapy but it was not because of my transition. I went because of being in an abusive relationship. I am different. Men treat me different and they treat me like a woman until we get in a disagreement and then they want to treat me like a man. Everyone needs behavioral health so that when things come your way you can be prepared.”
Trans individuals experience discrimination and stigma in many aspects of their daily life. This can lead to stress and triggers, alongside depression and other mental health disorders. This is a common experience in groups of people who are on the “outside” of what is considered “normal”. Mental health is an important part of medical care for all people. It is common in different medical procedures for doctors to assess and ask people about how they are feeling and their mental health, especially before surgeries. Often when a person is transitioning, with hormones or gender affirmation surgeries, there will be a series of evaluations that doctors may request during the process. They may recommend that a person have a psychological evaluation, psychotherapy or “talk therapy” sessions with a behavioral health specialist or maybe join a support group for post-surgery support.
Mental health, often called behavioral health, is an important part of our whole selves. It is important that you know a few things about mental health:
- You do not need mental health treatment just because you are trans!
- There is no timeline on transition and no blueprint on how to be a trans person! Each and every trans, non-binary, intersex and genderqueer person is different and that is okay!
- It is important to talk about your gender identity so that you have self-acceptance and determination to prepare if you decide to take hormones or have surgeries in your future. These procedures involve extra steps where you will be asked questions about mental health.
- If you have a family history of mental health issues or substance abuse disorders, you may be more likely to develop them yourself. If you are able to address your needs and talk about them, you can address these needs you may have. If you have substance abuse disorder, you may be advised to seek treatment as part of the transition process for health benefits and better outcomes.
- You may need extra support and help adjusting as you transition. How you interact with the world and others around you may change during transition and mental health care can help you in the process.
Mental health providers should listen to you and explain the process to you. If you do not understand why something is happening or required, ask questions.
- It is important to know that mental health care is a strength and not a weakness. Knowing yourself and your needs can help you lead a happy and healthy life