June is PRIDE month. Across the world rainbow flags, parades and celebrations recognise LGBTQ+ communities. We hope 2022 is a more positive place and one which is far more inclusive than years gone by. Yet, there is much work to do to reduce stigma, prejudices and to enable diversity. One person making a significant impact in the Pride community is the wonderful Andee Chua. Andee is a former international model and currently Community and Culture Builder at HubSpot.
Love is Love with Andee
Andee spoke to our Co-Founder Karin about his mental health story, finding his passion and what he is doing today to empower young people to become the best version of themselves. We are sure you will find this interview as incredibly inspiring as we did. As we wrap up Pride month we hope it gives food for thought.
We grappled with some hard-hitting questions about what struggles made him who he is today, whether he felt he fit in as a little boy growing up in Singapore and his relationship with mental health.
Specificially in relation to Pride, Andee spoke about how identifying as a gay man he learnt more about himself, the community, the history of the Pride movement, helped him to open his perspective about himself and the topic. He recommends exposing yourself to more materials and from a range of sources to help understand and reduce stigma.
We also spoke about the phase Andee coined the term ‘imperfect perfectionist’ and how the inspiration to inspire ‘misfits’ that stemmed from recognising his favorite movie is X-Men!
Andee offered insights into the methods he uses to track his mental health:
- Building a strong support network of listening friends
- Learning to say NO to things. Focussing on the things which bring him joy, not on people pleasing
- Putting himself first
- Speaking to a psychiatrist helped him to think about how he deals with his emotions
- Tracking his mental health through recognising his sleep patterns and getting a good sleep cycle because he believes sleep is essential for recovery
- Offloading thoughts and emotions into a journal before sleep
- Tracking food intake and exercising regularly
- Self acceptance
- Working with youth and the community to have meaningful impact
We will reflect with Andee’s advice to his younger self:
“Don’t worry about how people are judging you because the world is becoming a more inclusive and safe space for you to live in. You are going to have a voice and your voice will matter, and you don’t have to be afraid.”Andee Chua, Community & Culture Builder Hubspot
Thank you Andee for telling your story to our Earkick community today. It is a privilege to speak with you about Pride. We hope you continue to be a voice for diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Following Andee’s interview we wanted to delve into the movement in a little more detail for those who may not be familiar with it.
Pride as self-care
Take time to celebrate your identity. Yes you can dress up and join a parade, or if that’s not your thing, why not host an intimate gathering with close friends. Pride helps connect members of the LGBTQ+ community. It showcases creativity, connectedness and acceptance. It is an opportunity for outreach, for political engagement and for personal development. ‘Coming out to yourself and being authentic with others in a safe, intimate space is a way to celebrate your personal Pride,’ says Jared Sulc, APC, a psychotherapist in Atlanta, Georgia.
Pride is also a protest
In 1970 the first Pride event took place in the USA and in the UK in 1972. It was inspired by the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, resulting in a demonstration against unfair treatment of LGBTQ+ people. The protests aim to raise awareness about the struggles and the need for equal rights. It is a movement which is intrinsically linked to empowering individuals who may suffer mental health issues related directly to their sexuality and gender. Learn more about how Pride began in this piece by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who looks back through the decades: ‘We want full freedom, justice and equality!’
72% of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of anxiety
This stat comes from a 2021 survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by The Trevor Project who want to underscore the challenges but also share insights into ‘everyday sources of strength and positivity’. Overall, LGBTQ+ people are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ people to have mental health issues according to Mental Health America who have conducted a report showing the LGBTQ+ community face stigma, discrimination and bias in many forms.
MHA was founded in 1909 to promote the overall mental health of all Americans. This study concludes that ‘LGBTQ screeners were more likely to screen at risk for Depression, Anxiety, Alcohol or Substance Use, Bipolar, Psychosis and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).’ However, the report does not argue that most LGBTQ youth are vulnerable, but actually ‘most LGBTQ youth are incredibly resilient and thrive in the face of adversity, with the help of supportive families, communities, and peers.’
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, we recommend you start tracking on a daily basis and share your observations with your doctor. They may recommend therapy or another treatment. Speak to someone in your family or friendship circles too so they know how you are feeling.
Some of our Earkick community find daily journaling and mood tracking is a really useful way to track anxiety and keep on top of troubling feelings.
“I love the voice-memo, it’s a good idea. Voice-recording is definitely easier than typing. When I talk out loud, it actually helps me to express my feelings. It even helps reduce my anxiety.”Anonymous Earkick user
We developed Earkick because we believe mental health can be measurable for everyone and should be free and accessible for all. Our free anxiety tracker is available on the Apple AppStore, no ads, and your data is entirely anonymous, forever.