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LGBTQ+ Young People with Disabilities Have Higher Risk of Mental Health Struggles

Author: Christopher Wiggins

A recent study released by The Trevor Project sheds light on the mental health struggles faced by LGBTQ+ young people with disabilities.

According to the findings, nearly one-third of LGBTQ+ young people identify as having a disability. These disabilities range from ADHD and learning disorders to physical and autoimmune conditions, with many respondents reporting multiple diagnoses. The data reveals that LGBTQ+ young people with disabilities experience significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts compared to their non-disabled LGBTQ+ peers.

The report highlights a concerning trend: Approximately 65 percent of LGBTQ+ young people with disabilities have faced discrimination due to their disability in the past year. This discrimination is closely linked to increased mental health issues. For instance, those who experienced such discrimination reported higher instances of depression and anxiety, as well as a marked increase in suicide attempts.

Another critical study finding is the positive impact of understanding and inclusive therapy. LGBTQ+ young people who felt their therapist understood their disability reported lower rates of suicide attempts. This underscores the importance of disability-informed mental health services.

The report also sheds light on demographic variations. Older LGBTQ+ individuals and those identifying as transgender, nonbinary, or multisexual reported higher rates of disability. Notably, specific groups, such as queer, asexual, and gender-diverse young people, also showed elevated rates of disability.

Additionally, the survey found the critical role of supportive environments in mitigating mental health risks for LGBTQ+ young people with disabilities. Participants who reported having access to affirming spaces, whether in schools, communities, or online, exhibited more resilience and lower levels of mental health distress. This suggests that fostering inclusive environments where LGBTQ+ youth with disabilities feel accepted and understood can significantly impact their mental well-being. It also highlights the necessity for policies and programs that not only address mental health concerns directly but also actively work towards creating safer, more inclusive spaces for these young individuals.

The Trevor Project’s study serves as a crucial call to action for improved mental health support and anti-discrimination efforts for LGBTQ+ young people with disabilities. The organization emphasizes the need for further research and intervention strategies to address these challenges effectively.

In response to these findings, The Trevor Project continues to advocate for comprehensive, accessible mental health services and increased awareness and support for LGBTQ+ youth with disabilities, according to a statement by the group. Through their crisis services team and targeted training programs, they aim to enhance understanding and provide vital resources for this particularly vulnerable community.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Christopher Wiggins

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