Office of Children’s Mental Health Director Linda Hall today announces the publication of a new fact sheet, Improving Quality of Life for LGBT Youth, and details what our communities, schools, parents, and policymakers can do to make a difference.

Highlights 

  • Compared to the general population, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) youth experience higher rates of mental health disorders, often stemming from discrimination.
  • Many LGBT youth have limited or no access to mental health care. They identify inability to pay for care, concerns about securing parent/caregiver permission for care, and concerns related to the LGBT competency of providers as the primary barriers.
  • 46.7% of LGBT youth report experiencing dating or sexual violence.
  • 43.8% of LGBT youth report experiencing bullying.
  • 42% of Wisconsin’s transgender or nonbinary youth considered suicide and 20% attempted suicide.
  • Youth who had their pronouns used correctly by others most or all the time had lower rates of suicide attempts compared to those who did not.
  • Using a youth’s chosen name reduces suicide attempts by 65% and depression symptoms by 71%.

What We Can Do

  • Parents can participate in a parent education group and learn more from resources such as The Trevor Project and GLAAD.
  • Schools can create support organizations, clubs, and safe spaces for LGBT youth such as a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), which is a student led group that connects LGBT youth and allies.
  • Policymakers can fund youth peer-led support groups such as Sources of Strength and Hope Squad to reduce risk of suicide.
  • Communities can engage local agencies in promoting safe spaces and providing basic needs by fostering partnerships that value diversity and inclusion.