If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. You can also send a Text or dial 988. Additionally, The Trevor Project can be contacted for assistance here.
Forty-one percent of LGBTQ youth have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, with transgender, non-binary, and/or people of color respondents reporting such feelings at higher rates than their peers.
The Trevor Project’s fifth annual U.S. National Survey of LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, which surveys the experiences of more than 28,000 LGBTQ people between the ages of 13 and 24 across the country, found that nearly one LGBTQ youth in 3 said his mental health was the worst. time, or always, due to anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation.
Nearly 2 in 3 young LGBTQ people said that hearing about possible state or local laws prohibiting people from discussing LGBTQ people at school (such as the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill from Florida and others) had significantly worsened their mental health. Conversely, 79% of LGBTQ youth said hearing about possible state and local laws to ban conversion therapy made them feel a little or a lot better.
As of April 3, a record 417 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed this year, according to the ACLU.
Dr Ronita Nath, vice president of research at the Trevor Project, told The Daily Beast: “In addition to a growing mental health crisis among the country’s young people, we are also negotiating an increasingly hostile political climate that has tragically placed LGBTQ youth at the center of a political corner issue, which is having adverse effects on their mental health. The number of anti-LGBTQ bills is concerning enough. The majority of political attacks targeting trans and non-binary people attempt to legislate in all areas of their daily lives, from healthcare for trans youth to restroom restrictions. These policies and debates have an impact on LGBTQ youth. »
The study found that 14% of LGBTQ youth have attempted suicide in the past year, including nearly one in five trans and non-binary respondents.
“When LGBTQ youth assert themselves, they thrive.”
— Dr. Ronita Nath
The survey found that a large majority of LGBTQ youth reported recent symptoms of anxiety (67%) and depression (54%), but 56% of youth who wanted mental health care during the past year have not been able to obtain them. Thirty-eight percent of LGBTQ youth found their home to be LGBTQ-friendly, and 54% found their school to be LGBTQ-positive. Among transgender and non-binary youth, 35% found their home to be gender affirming and 52% found their school to be gender affirming.
Many LGBTQ youth enrolled in school said they had a range of negative experiences, including being verbally harassed because people thought they were LGBTQ (53%); not being allowed to dress in a way that matches their gender identity or expression (32%); being disciplined for hitting back at bullies (25%); and having unwanted sexual contact because people thought they were LGBTQ (20%).
LGBTQ youth who had access to affirming homes and schools reported much lower rates of suicide attempts, while trans and non-binary people who lived in homes where their choice of pronouns were respected reported lower suicide attempt rates.
“The survey shows that many young LGBTQ people are not able to fully live their potential and be, and when students hear about affirmation from policies, their mental health has improved,” said Dr. Nath . “When LGBTQ youth assert themselves, they thrive.”
Fewer trans and non-binary youth found their schools affirming their cisgender LGB peers, Dr. Nath said. Eighty-one percent of LGBTQ youth surveyed wanted mental health care, but 56% were unable to access it. Dr Nath said: “They were afraid to discuss their specific mental health needs with a provider, the cost, getting permission from their parents, and were also afraid of not being taken seriously. .”
“Young people told us what a world it would be like if the world minded its own business – if there were gender neutral toilets and no one had to worry about going out because there were no anti-LGBTQ bills.”
— Dr. Ronita Nath
Dr Nath said LGBTQ youth told the Trevor Project that their mental health would be improved if “others learned the basics of LGBTQ identities, learned about pronouns, creating safer spaces, micro- aggression and racism. Parents, schools and peers need to do more about this, so these young people feel more supported at home and at school.
Dr. Nath said she hopes policymakers will consider the report’s findings and “introduce legislation that protects LGBTQ youth from discrimination and conversion therapy, and gives them access to health care, safe spaces and affirming, safe schools, and intersectional mental health services that take into account the needs of students who may have multiple marginalized identities Young people told us what a world it would be like if there were neutral toilets, and no one didn’t have to worry about going out because there were no anti-LGBTQ bills. They don’t feel safe right now.
Despite the alarming statistics, the Trevor Project was encouraged by the number of LGBTQ youth and their allies who protested the bills aimed at them.
A spokesperson told the Daily Beast: “Something that gives us great hope is the overwhelming wave of LGBTQ youth activism. It is a difficult and demanding time. LGBTQ youth are placed in the middle of political rhetoric and debate that many do not want to participate in. It’s truly inspiring to see them rise up and make their voices heard in places like Florida. There are many glimmers of hope amid what we are going through. »
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. You can also send a Text or dial 988. The Trevor Project can be contacted for assistance here.
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