TW // Suicide and Conversion Therapy
Happy June, y’all! As you may or may not know June is LGBTQ+ Pride month. This is a tremendous time to celebrate the beauty of self-expression and to try and make the world a more positive and accepting place for those who identify as LGBTQ+. Coming out is not always easy, and our youth are especially vulnerable to mental health disparities when it comes to their intersecting identities. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth. This year marks their third-annual National Survey on LGBTQ+ Mental Health and the findings amid COVID-19 indicate a mental health crisis among our LGBTQ+ youth.
The Trevor Project stated in their report that “the third annual survey finds that 42% of respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.” (2021) The reported statistics only worsen if these youth are subjected to conversion therapy. “LGBTQ youth who were subjected to conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who were not.” (2021) The COVID-19 pandemic in particular has had a negative impact on LGBTQ+ youth sense of self and mental health. “Nearly half of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 impacted their ability to express their sexual orientation. Nearly 60% of transgender and nonbinary youth said the pandemic impacted their ability to express their gender identity.” (2021)
These findings may be hard to process. It is a scary reality that our LGBTQ+ youth may be facing every day. The question becomes, what can we do to help and prevent suffering for our LGBTQ+ youth? A great place to start is by creating affirming spaces and support systems. The Trevor Project reported that “LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide.” (2021) They go on to say that “transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all of the people they lived with attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected by anyone with whom they lived.” (2021) By respecting pronouns of our youth we can affirm them in their self-expression and support their emerging identities. Respecting pronouns and educating ourselves on LGBTQ+ identities may quite literally save lives.
Another way to support our LGBTQ+ youth is by having a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. 3 out of 4 LGBTQ+ youth have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once in their lifetime, and youth who have faced discrimination are twice as likely to attempt suicide. (2021) Advocating for a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination with appropriate consequences and education for perpetrators can provide both accountability and a potential for positive growth and change. Finally, one of the most important ways to support ANYONE who is LGBTQ+, especially youth, is with increased access to mental health care. “In the past year, nearly half of LGBTQ youth have wanted counseling from a mental health professional, but did not receive it.” (2021) The Center for Behavioral Health is dedicated to supporting our LGBTQ+ community by increasing access to affordable and affirming mental health treatment options. These include individual, couple, and group therapy options with specialized support for racial trauma at our Collective Care Center. Not to mention ROWEN, our group for maternal mental health concerns.
Celebrate this Pride Month by affirming and accepting those who need it most, and by taking charge of your own mental health needs! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (502)792-7011 to get started today. The CBH wishes you a healthy and happy Pride Month!