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.
- 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.