Mental Health Issues among LGBTQIA+ Youth
Many LGBTQIA+ youth are typically happy, especially now that society is more accepting and understanding of them. They continue to get good grades in school and help out in their community. It is easier for them to enjoy life and to be better individuals because they are socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically safe and supported. However, LGBTQIA+ youth have a higher risk of experiencing mental health issues.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34 in the country. According to a 2016 study, LGBTQIA+ individuals are three times more likely to consider suicide compared to their heterosexual peers. In 2019, 23% of LGBTQIA+ youth have attempted to end their lives.
LGBTQIA+ Youth and Violence
LGBTQIA+ youth are often the target of violence from people who cannot accept them. There are still a number of people who refuse to acknowledge that LGBTQIA+ youth have the same rights as them. They look at the LGBTQIA+ community with resentment and judgment. LGBTQIA+ youth have an increased risk of experiencing violence. Violence includes bullying, harassment, or physical assault.
Based on the data gathered by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey;
- 10% of LGBTQIA+ youth have been threatened or hurt with a weapon at school.
- 34% of LGBTQIA+ students are victims of school bullying.
- 28% of LGBTQIA+ youth are bullied online.
- 23% of LGBTQIA+ students experienced sexual dating violence.
- 18% of LGBTQIA+ youth have experienced physical assault.
- 18% of LGBTQIA+ students are forced to have sexual intercourse.
LGBTQIA+ Youth and Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in the country. Around 4.1 million, or 17% of youths aged 12 to 17, have experienced at least one major depressive episode. 41.6% of these youths received treatments for their depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Adolescence is a critical period for all youth. But it is even more stressful for LGBTQIA+ youth because they are constantly confronted with difficult challenges. From the moment they come out, they already know that there is a high chance that they will be subjected to negative attitudes and comments. This is why LGBTQIA+ youth are likely to experience depression because there is still so much stigma surrounding them.
Even with their own families, LGBTQIA+ youth may feel like they are outsiders. Many of them are not accepted by their families yet. Some of them have not even come out yet for fear that they will be disowned. They are always finding a place where they can be who they are. They want to be with people who can accept them regardless of their sexual orientation.
LGBTQIA+ Youth and Education
Education among LGBTQIA+ youth should always be a priority. It is through education that they get to learn more about themselves, their rights, and the importance of looking after their health and wellness. LGBTQIA+ youth who have experienced traumatic events in their lives, such as abuse or bullying, are less likely to attend school. They fear that they will always be the center of criticism, resentment, and violence.
Schools should promote and provide a healthy and positive environment for all their students, including LGBTQIA+ youth. A recent study showed there is less suicide ideation among LGBTQIA+ youth if schools have policies against homophobia.
- Promote policies that advocate understanding, support, and respect for them.
- Prepare activities that help other students understand the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Ensure that the school curriculum includes lessons and materials that discuss common health. issues among LGBTQIA+, like HIV, STDs, and more.
- Train and provide orientation among teachers and other school personnel to handle the different issues that many LGBTQIA+ youth experience.
- Offer counseling sessions for LGBTQIA+ youth who have experienced traumatic events.
Students should see that all of them are equal and no one is more superior than the others. Some schools designate a safe place for LGBTQIA+ students to discuss sensitive topics. School counselors look after their mental health. This way, they would know that there is someone in their school who is willing to listen to them without fear of being judged. Through this, LGBTQIA+ youth would feel safe, supported, and welcomed.
LGBTQIA+ Youth and Support
LGBTQIA+ youth and their mental health should be a priority. Not all of them can stand on their own and fight those who ridiculed and violated them. Regardless of their age and background, they should feel that there is help, support, and guidance from the people.
Mindshift Psychological Services provides therapy and counseling sessions for LGBTQIA+ youth who have experienced depression, anxiety, abuse, and trauma. Our team of medical professionals ensures a safe and effective healing process. We know how hard it is to ask for help, but rest assured that all throughout your journey, you will always feel safe and understood.