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5 June, 2024.

The Family Counseling Center Highlights on Pride Month

June is Pride Month, a time of recognition, awareness, and acceptance of LGBTQ+ friends, family, and community members across the world. Pride Month not only recognizes the Stonewall Riots, it is an opportunity for community activism, outreach, and the raising of important issues that affect LGBTQ+ individuals.

The intersection of LGBTQ+ individuals and mental health concerns is great with LGBTQ+ youth more than four times as likely as their straight peers to attempt suicide. A national survey conducted by the Trevor Project found that 41% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year, including roughly half of transgender and nonbinary youth. In addition, 67% of LGBTQ+ youth reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety including nearly three-quarters of transgender and nonbinary young people.

Intersectionality is a term that is often used when discussing LGBTQ+ mental health. Intersectionality means the overlapping stressors that affect an individual including bullying, racial discrimination, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. The more these identities overlap, the more stressors are present creating problematic and chronic anxiety and depression.

Acceptance has an impact

Research suggests that only one-third of LGBTQ+ experience parental acceptance of their sexuality/gender identity and only 40% of youth found their home to be LGBTQ+ affirming. For each layer of acceptance a youth finds, their likelihood of attempting suicide decreases.

High social support and acceptance of identity include:

  • Family and extended family networks
  • Educational spaces such as schools and extracurricular groups
  • Communities at large that create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ neighbors

“It’s human nature to need connection,” said David Caton, Clinic Director at The Family Counseling Center. “Loneliness, isolation – they lead to anxiety and depression, and children and youth who are experiencing isolation and disdain because of their sexual or gender identities are at special risk. If we can create safe spaces for these youth to not only be themselves but be accepted for who they are as an individual, the fuller their lives will be and the lower the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts.”

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