July 2014 marks the beginning of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diversity Mental Health Month. The organization deems the month as a time to bring attention to mental health disparities and needs within diverse communities. If you're like me, your reflexive response when you hear the word diversity is to think of racial and ethnic diversity. However, the concept truly is much broader including socioeconomic diversity, gender diversity, sexual orientation diversity, religious diversity and all of the other variables that make humans such an awesome collection of unique beings. This post focuses on a pattern I've certainly noticed in the 12 years I've been practicing Psychiatry -- individuals who define themselves as LGBT are at increased risk for developing psychiatric disorders. A recent article in the Psychiatric Times quantifies the pattern as depicted in the picture below. The question is why? Why are LGBT individuals more than twice as likely to have a mental health disorder? Why are suicide attempts 3 times more common in individuals who identify as bisexual? Why do individuals in a sexual minority group have greater risk of developing substance use disorders? I believe the answer is at least partly, if not mostly, because of the way we ostracize LGBT individuals in this country. It is a fact that humans are pack animals. And when you banish an individual from the pack, there will be biological and psychological consequences. In my opinion, the statistics shown below are just a few of the consequences of banishing our own. We must do better.