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 information on Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s THRIVE Program, click here. Other LGBTQ resources include:
- 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.