Background gradient

Situational distress refers to specific life events and everyday challenges to our survival that can impact our feelings and thoughts of suicide. For example, how we use alcohol and other drugs. 

People use alcohol and other drugs for a variety of reasons, including for fun, pleasure, and connection, to reach a different realm or to escape reality altogether.   

LGBTQ+ people have varying relationships with alcohol and other drugs. There is a difference, though, between substance use and harmful substance use.  

The same way we can recognise that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol is different to drinking alcohol to excess, the same applies to all substances.  

Given the different levels of discrimination and stigma we can face, it’s no surprise that some of us may experience substance use to a harmful degree. 

However, there are ways you can mitigate risks and stay safe if you are going to use substances. 


  • Pivot Point – A good place to start | Pivot Point offers resources and referral information for LGBTQ+ people looking to reduce or quit their use of alcohol and other drugs. 
  • ACON Substance Support | ACON Substance Support provides free and confidential counselling for LGBTQ+ people who want to manage, reduce, or stop their use of alcohol or drugs. 
  • Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW | The Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) is a free and confidential counselling helpline for NSW residents with concerns around alcohol and/or drug misuse and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ADIS is staffed by professional counsellors who provide education, information, counselling, support and referrals to other appropriate services in NSW. 
  • Inner City Legal Centre | ICLC provides a statewide legal advice service for the LGBTIQ community. 

Other examples of situational distress include