LGBTQ+ Youth and Mental Health

LGBTQ+ Youth and Mental Health

 

The LGBTQ+ community has strength and resilience because of the many hardships they have endured over the years. Acceptance has been a major issue for the community, not just from strangers but even their own families. Members of the LGBTQ+ are more likely to experience issues with mental health because of the complexity of the hardships that they face along the way.

The mental health of adolescents is very fragile, because they have to deal with fitting in amongst their peers, going through changes within their bodies and possibly problems in their home environment. For an LGBTQ+ youth, their mental health is more likely to, figuratively, take more hits because of the lack of acceptance of their community. We have come a long way over the years, but there is still work to be done. No one should feel as if they are wrong or be ostracized because of who they choose to love. They also shouldn’t be condemned for not following what is considered “the norm” for society.

There are many factors that can affect the mental health of an LGBTQ+ youth:

  1. Coming out: Coming out to friends and family can be difficult because of how they may react. This causes some youth to struggle within themselves about whether or not to be open about themselves.

  2. Rejection: Rejection is hard for someone to accept, especially when it comes from someone you love or care about. This can cause a feeling of being a disappointment to others, or like they are a burden. With rejection can also come shame.

  3. Homelessness: Often when members of the LGBTQ+ community are rejected, they could be kicked out of their homes by family. Simply because they won’t accept or try to understand their loved ones’ gender identity/sexual orientation. They are 120% more likely to experience homelessness. On top of this, they have to find shelters that are safe for them.

  4. Suicide: Unfortunately, the previous factors stated can become overwhelming, causing some people to take their own lives. High school students that are a part of the community are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide.

The best way to combat these factors are to find great resources and a mental health professional that understands the community. Mental health options are sometimes inadequate for an LGBTQ+ member because of the lack of understanding about their community. But knowing exactly what they need from their health professionals and asking all of their important questions is vital in finding the perfect fit for them. Also, being an ally to someone of the LGBTQ+ community is extremely important. A solid support system is something that can make a huge difference in their experiences.

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