Over the past few months, the psychiatry department at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital has seen at least three transgenders seeking help for depression.

Sunday night’s suicide of transgender Nagamani, alias Meena, in Pulianthope is not surprising, as several in the community have attempted suicide, some more than once, say activists.

Members of the transgender community say not being accepted by the family, housing difficulties and problems finding a job are major worries that lead to depression.

“There are many in our community who get depressed because of these issues. While peer counselling is available and elders in the community help, for many, there is no outlet for when they are feeling low,” says R. Jeeva, founder of Transgender Rights Association.

Over the past few months, the psychiatry department at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital has seen at least three transgenders seeking help for depression.

“They yearn for acceptance from their families, and in some cases, lend or gift money in an attempt at recognition. Sometimes, they are exploited even by their own families for money,” says G.S. Chandralekha, head of the department.

Magdalene Jeyarathnam, counselor and director of East West Center for Counselling, says family support can go a long way.

“If they are associated with a support group, they can seek help. We have trained many in peer counselling and when they see signs of depression in their friends, they know what to do, and connect them to the right people. It can be very difficult if they are on their own,” she says, adding, parents and families of transgenders forming a support group would certainly help, but not many come forward.

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