By ABCS RCM
The LGBTQ+ community has made major advancements in recent decades in breakdown barriers and overcoming prejudice and discrimination. Yet, this population of Americans still experience higher rates of mental health conditions.
Research by mental health professionals has verified this trend. The American Psychological Association (APA) has stated that members of this community are at a greater risk of experiencing harassment and violence. A fact that likely creates an elevated risk for LGBTQ+ individuals to develop mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders. The statistics are particularly troubling when examining mental health traits among LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults.
Other institutions and researchers have noted this trend. Some resources have been directed towards treating the negative effects of a still present LGBTQ+ stigma.
The stigma surrounding mental health is well-known, but there is a parallel to the stigma also surrounds people who identify as LGBTQ+. Similar to mental health conditions, a person’s sexuality is not visually apparent. Groups such as women or people of color can more readily form support and affinity groups. However, much like mental health treatments, some people do not want friends, family and co-workers to know.
For many people, they still experience harassment and intimidation in their daily lives. For example, the Esteem Program at the Yale School of Public Health is creating mental health interventions for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have also worked in this endeavor.
Mental health Treads Among LGBTQ+ Youth:
There are some troubling statistics among American youth who identify as LGBTQ. Recent data reported by the Trevor Project, which is a nonprofit LGBTQ+ advocacy organization. They polled more than 34,000 young people in 2018 to compile the largest ever survey on LGBTQ+ youth mental health in America.
shows that nearly 40 percent of young people, ages 13 to 24, who are LGBTQ have contemplated suicide in the last 12 months. When this data is narrowed to only include transgender and gender-nonbinary youth, the percentage increases to 54 percent. Additional details report that 57 percent of transgender and non-binary youth who have undergone conversion therapy report a suicide attempt in the last twelve months.
Here are five additional key findings from the survey:
 About 67 percent of people in the survey reported that someone tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
 71 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks over the last 12 months.
 Less than half of the survey respondents stated that they were “out” to an adult at school.
 87 percent of respondents said it was important for them to reach out to a crisis intervention organization that focuses on LGBTQ youth.
 98 percent of the individuals stated a desire for a safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth.
A Digital Community for Outreach & Support:
Researchers are finding that many young individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ are seeking information and help online. Studies have shown that these youth are utilizing the internet more than youth who identify as cisgender or heterosexual. The internet and social media are used to find information about behavioral and mental health topics. This includes reading blog post, watching YouTube testimonials to participating in private Facebook groups.
Young people in the LGBTQ+ community are finding that online spaces are important. People use these digital spaces to find information and support. This is particularly important if these individuals live in a stressful environment. The internet allowed individuals to remain anonymous which is important for people who do not wish to “come out” online. The Trevor Project found that about 36 percent of young LGBTQ+ people have shared about their sexual orientation online, while 30 percent shared their gender identity. The internet and social media allow for passive information gathering without the fear of overt disclosure.
Surveys like this show that youth who identify as LGBTQ+ still face discrimination and threats of violence. This additional stress may generate higher rates of mental health disorders. In the end, it is clear that society needs to do more to support these youth.
About Providers For Healthy Living:
For questions about LGBTQ+ related behavioral and mental health topics, contact the staff at Providers For Healthy Living. They have been delivering mental health services since 2011. With four locations in Central Ohio, their staff and behavioral health services are based on the values of quality, hope and personal responsibility. For more information call 614-664-3595 or 419-605-9817.
It's interesting to know that the same stigma that surrounds mental health issues would be the same as what the LGBTQ community experiences. With that in mind, it would be vital for people in that community to attend an LGBTQ therapy session to help them prevent any signs of depression and anxiety. It can save them from any attempt to hurt themselves or from having mental health issues that would affect their daily lives.
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