Celebrating Diversity: Supporting the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Teens

Celebrating Diversity: Supporting the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Teens

Each June, Pride Month serves as a powerful reminder of ways we can celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. However, it also highlights the ongoing struggles faced by young people navigating complex aspects of their identities. Supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ teens is a critical investment in the well-being and future of all Americans. Here’s what everyone should know.

Mental Health Difficulties for LGBTQ+ Teens

Although being non-cisgender or non-heterosexual does not itself lead to mental health disorders, LGBTQ mental health can be seriously harmed by common misconceptions about their identities and needs. For teens, this can be compounded by:

  • The process and/or internal conflict of coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Their parents’ or family’s views on LGBTQ+ identity 
  • A general fear of coming out
  • Low self-esteem
  • Bullying or cyberbullying by fellow students, athletes, and other social groups

LGBTQ+ teens (and those exploring these identities) grapple with mental health challenges at disproportionately higher rates compared to their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Teens who identify as transgender or non-binary face additional challenges, including higher rates of intimate partner violence and health disparities. All non-cisgender and non-heterosexual teens are more prone to experiencing the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance use
  • Suicidal ideation

Barriers to Receiving Mental Health Services

Adding another layer of complexity, LGBTQ+ teens often encounter significant barriers to accessing mental health services. According to one survey, 56% of LGBTQ+ youth who wanted mental health care in 2023 were not able to get it, highlighting the critical gap in support and resources. Barriers to mental health services for adolescents can include:

  • Lack of parental support
  • Lack of LGBTQ+-friendly healthcare providers in the community or surrounding region
  • Inadequate insurance coverage or financial resources to cover the cost of care
  • Inability to access transportation to medical and mental healthcare provider facilities
  • Fear of encountering stigma or misunderstanding from healthcare professionals

How You Can Support LGBTQ+ Teen Mental Health

You can support good mental health for LGBTQ+ teens and those questioning their gender or orientation identities by doing any of the following:

  • Educating yourself and others about the complexities of LGBTQ+ identities, the challenges people in these communities face, and the additional vulnerability of teens taking their first steps in navigating their identities
  • Creating safe and inclusive environments in homes, schools, and communities; using preferred pronouns; offering support for LGBTQ+ events; and advocating for policies that respect LGBTQ+ community members
  • Connecting LGBTQ+ teens with mental health professionals and resources who can support their identities and comprehensive health needs

Support LGBTQ+ Teen Mental Health With ReGroup Foundation

ReGroup Foundation is a non-profit that helps pre-teens, teens, and their families anonymously share and benefit from mental health success stories. Too often, the best resources and practices in teen mental health care remain under the radar. 

We want all families to benefit from the triumphs of those who have “been there, done that” where LGBTQ+ teen mental health issues are concerned. We make this possible by collecting family reviews of local mental health caregivers and facilities as well as personal strategies for helping teens recover from wellness challenges.

In only 15 minutes, you can begin making a world of difference in the lives of other teens and their families — just by anonymously sharing your successes. Register today and start sharing your reviews and mental health insights!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *