Mental healthcare for transgender people: An elusive dream?

Although far from optimal, still considerable progress has been made in providing healthcare to transgender people in many parts of the world. Yet their mental health needs remain far from being served. "Mental healthcare problems are so severe and far from easy to overcome. I've spent seven years with therapists and doctors and even after that I've attempted suicide 5 times (4 weeks since last attempt)" said Svanhvit on in response to a CNS article "Mental health of MSM and transgender on blind spot."

"We live in a society that will aim to break us down, and in Darwinian fashion there is an elimination. Personally I am not strong enough, but thankfully there are people who are and do therefore survive regardless of what society puts them through" said Svanhvit.

"The problem with mental health is that for transgender individuals a part of it comes from our alienation with our bodies and this is often the root cause" explains Svanhvit.

"However, like with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that is untreated, untreated transgender feelings will give rise to other symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and a host of other things" said Svanhvit.

Depression, harassment, relationship problems, loneliness, and social isolation, were among the few pressing mental health concerns that were highlighted during interactions with members from men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) and transgender community. The existing services for MSM and transgender people, firstly, are decimal and not reaching a vast majority of community members, and secondly, they seldom serve their mental health needs optimally.

"For me, hormones treated the depression I never understood, but it couldn't treat the ones I had gained later on which were more heavily rooted in logical things, that is, aspects that came from society and my hopes regarding the future, things that are hard to fix due to what we can basically call fate" reflects Svanhvit.

"We have artificially set up a hierarchy that attending to physical health is more important than attending to our mental health. Body and mind are not split, rather they are together. So we better attend to the mind too when we are attending to the body" had said Aniruddh Vasudevan, Director of The Shakti Centre in Chennai to CNS correspondent last year. So true!

"Thankfully, and hopefully, we're moving towards greater acceptance, understanding, and early care, which means that future generations might not have to face any of the mental and social problems we face today" said Svanhvit. Let's hope Svanhvit's hope comes true.

Bobby Ramakant - CNS 
Published in:
The Times of India, New Delhi, India
Citizen News Service (CNS), India 
News Blaze News, California, USA
American Chronicle, USA