Studies show that LGBTQIA+ youth (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and other gender/sexual minorities), as a group, experience more negative mental health outcomes than their peers. Learn the ways you can help can make a positive difference on LGBTQIA+ youth and their mental health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 63% of LGBTQIA+ youth reported experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and are four times more likely to attempt suicide.
An estimated 20-30% of LGBTQIA+ youth abuse substances compared to about 12% of their peers. Additionally, LGBTQIA+ youth are more likely to experience bullying, physical violence and rejection. For example, 33% reported being bullied on school property; 27% were bullied electronically; and 16% reported experiencing physical dating violence.
So How Can You Help?
A supportive family, community and school system make the biggest difference on LGBTQ youth and their mental health.
- An overwhelming majority of LGBTQ youth who are suicidal report feeling misunderstood by their parents.
- Studies show it is the support of a caregiver that provides the foundation for a child’s health and wellbeing. This can lead to a decrease in mental health symptoms for LGBTQ youth.
- Transgender children whose families affirm their gender identity are as psychologically healthy as their non-transgender peers.
- Family acceptance and support are strong predictors of healthy self-esteem.
- Have open and honest conversations, and stay involved. Simply asking someone how their day was shows someone you care.
For more LGBTQ resources:
- The Trevor Project: Provides a national, 24-hour confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth at (866) 488-7386. The Trevor Project also provides an online chat and confidential text messaging – text “Trevor” to (202) 304-1200.
- LGBT National Help Center: Provides free, confidential telephone and email counseling, information and local resources. Telephone volunteers are in their teens and early 20s and speak with teens about coming-out issues, relationship concerns, parent issues, school problems, STDs and other issues.