The Mental Health Impact of Being Trans

Living as a transgender person comes with a unique set of mental health challenges caused by both internal and external factors. Internally, many trans individuals struggle with gender dysphoria and internalized stigmas. In their daily lives, transgender people also face discrimination, social rejection, and barriers to gender-affirming care, all of which further impact mental health. Understanding these challenges is the first step towards supporting the trans people in your life and fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for the transgender community as a whole.

The Numbers on Trans Mental Health

Studies consistently show that the mental health of transgender individuals is disproportionately worse than that of the general population. One study looked at 53,449,400 patients, 10,270 of whom were trans. It was found that 58% of the transgender group had been diagnosed with a mental health condition, a stark contrast to the 13.6% in the cisgender population. Among these conditions, depression and anxiety stood out, affecting 31% and 12% of the transgender group respectively. In contrast, just 4.8% of the cisgender group had a diagnosis of depression, while 2% of them had been diagnosed with anxiety.

The concern deepens when looking at suicide rates. While less than 1% of the general adult population has attempted suicide, a survey by the Trevor Project found that the rate is alarmingly high among transgender youth—over half have considered it, and nearly 20% have made an attempt. 

These figures highlight the critical need for increased support and understanding for the transgender community.

Factors Influencing Trans Mental Health

The mental health of transgender individuals is deeply influenced by a complex web of factors, ranging from personal struggles with gender identity to societal pressures and discrimination. Understanding these influences is crucial for providing effective support and creating more inclusive environments.

Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is a significant distress caused by a discrepancy between a person’s experienced gender and the gender assigned at birth. This condition can severely impact daily functioning, leading to heightened risks of anxiety, depression, and stress. Relief often comes through steps taken to align one's life and physical appearance with their true gender identity, which can greatly alleviate the distress associated with gender dysphoria.

Lack of Support Systems

The level of support from friends and family plays a critical role in the mental well-being of transgender individuals. Unfortunately, not all environments are affirming. Lack of acceptance and understanding from loved ones can exacerbate feelings of isolation, increasing the risk of mental health issues and suicidal thoughts. Creating spaces where transgender people feel safe and accepted is essential for providing them with supporting systems and combating feelings of isolation.

Societal Discrimination

Transgender people frequently encounter discrimination, which can manifest in various aspects of daily life—from the workplace to healthcare settings. This discrimination not only contributes to mental health disorders but can also aggravate existing conditions. Advocating for inclusive policies and practices is vital in reducing these negative impacts.

Despite some legal protections, transgender individuals often face microaggressions and barriers in schools and workplaces, such as being misgendered or facing difficulties in using preferred facilities. Ensuring these spaces are genuinely inclusive and affirming is crucial for the well-being of transgender individuals.

Transphobia and Hate Crimes

The prevalence of transphobia and the threat of violence significantly impact the mental health of transgender individuals. Experiences of verbal and physical abuse contribute to a heightened sense of vulnerability and can lead to severe mental health consequences. Combating transphobia and protecting transgender individuals from violence is imperative for their safety and well-being.

Lack of Access to Gender-Affirming Health Care

Access to comprehensive and respectful healthcare is a significant concern. Many transgender people report negative experiences with healthcare providers, leading to avoidance of necessary medical care. Transgender people are also more likely to be uninsured than the general population, often putting healthcare entirely out of their reach. This neglect can have serious implications for both physical and mental health. Ensuring healthcare providers are educated and supportive of transgender health needs and that transgender people have access to necessary medical interventions without financial barriers is essential for supporting the mental health of transgender individuals.

How to Support the Trans People in Your Life

Addressing these issues as a society requires a multifaceted approach, including policy changes, increased social support, and accessible healthcare. Closer to home,  there are a number of things you can do to offer meaningful support to the transgender individuals in your life:

Trans mental health is a multifaceted issue, rooted in societal attitudes, personal identity struggles, and the availability of support. By understanding and tackling these issues, we can work towards a society where transgender individuals can thrive without the burden of these added mental health challenges.

Gender-Affirming Therapy at Medens Health

The mental health of trans individuals can be profoundly enhanced by access to compassionate, gender-affirming mental health care. Such care not only acknowledges the unique challenges faced by the trans community, but also fosters a supportive environment where they can explore their identities safely. At Medens Health, we recognize the critical importance of gender-affirming therapy. Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive mental health services that respect and affirm each person's gender identity. If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of transgender mental health, we invite you to reach out to Medens for healing, understanding, and empowerment.

Call/text us at (833) 624-5400 or contact us online for gender-affirming therapy. You can also get started here!


The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.

If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.