The LGBTQ+ community experiences mental health issues at higher rates. Based on a youth risk behavior survey 60 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported feeling sad and hopeless, and had stopped doing activities they used to enjoy (all of which are signs of depression). Those within the LGBTQ+ community are twice as likely to feel suicidal, and four times as likely to attempt suicide. With mental health month coming up in October, I think it is important to discuss the LGBTQ+ community, and offer ways to help and give support.
Showing Support to the LGBTQ+ Community (Being an Ally):
There are many ways in which those who aren’t members of the LGBTQ+ community can be a support to those they know who are. Below is a list of ways to be an ally and a friend to those within the LGBTQ+community.
- Letting your support be known- this is a small and simple act, but can mean a lot to someone struggling within the LGBTQ+ community
- Raising awareness- use your voice to speak up against oppression towards the LGBTQ+ community
- Be a good listener- don’t just assume your friends sexual identity. Be someone they can trust and open up to.
- Being willing to talk
- Be open-minded- being different doesn’t mean being wrong
- Anti LGBTQ+ comments and jokes are harmful- speak up when you hear anyone talking in such a way
- Confront your own prejudices and biases (if there are any)- it is uncomfortable to do so, but vital to being an ally to those around you
- Treat everyone with dignity and respect
- Report misrepresentations of the LGBTQ+ community seen in the media (the website https://www.glaad.org/programs is a great resource to do so. This company works within the media to create inclusive representation).
Families with LGBTQ+ Children:
As a parent or caregiver, your love and acceptance are crucial for supporting your child.
Here are some ways to do so:
- Express affection when your child comes out to you or you learn about their sexual/gender identity
- Create an open conversation- ask your child about their gender identity
- Support your child’s gender expression- use proper pronouns, support haircuts or wardrobe changes, etc.
- Welcome any LGBTQ+ friends your child may have into your home, and show them the same acceptance
- Find resources that provide support to youth in the community and share them with your child.
Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community:
As mentioned, there are many mental health struggles within the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, it is important to know where to reach out for help. Below are a few resources for those seeking mental health services, as well as a few resources of where to reach out for extra support.
- Seek therapy HERE– Day One is a charitable mental health program who are gender inclusive and allies to the LGBTQ+ community
- Encircle LGBTQ+ Family and Youth Resource Center (https://encircletogether.org/services)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
- UNI Crisis Line (University Neuropsychiatric Unit) 801-587-3000
- Utah Pride Center (https://utahpridecenter.org/)
- The Trevor Project (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/)