The Trevor Project launched its second National Survey on LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health in 2020. Experts generally are only now beginning to better understand the mental health impact of the multiple crises that we’ve faced during 2020. One fact remains consistent in 2020: suicide remains a public health crisis.
Suicide consistently is ranked as the second leading cause of death among young people (typically classified as people under the age of 25). Death by suicide continues to impact disproportionately young members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Trevor Project itself is dedicated to providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) young people under 25. The Trevor Project provides its services and resources across the United States.
The National Survey research project included 40,000 LGBTQ+ young people between the ages of 13 through 24. They were located across the United States. The National Survey represented the largest study of LGBTQ+ youth ever conducted in the U.S.A.
As mentioned, this was the second year that The Trevor Project conducted its National Survey. As of this time, the plan is for The Trevor Project to undertake the National Survey each year going forward.
Data From the National Survey of LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health and Suicide
The data extracted from the National Survey of LGBTQ+ young people is illuminating. Different conclusions from the exhaustive National Survey are addressed in turn in this article.
LGBTQ+ Youth and Suicide
The National Survey revealed that 40 percent of all LGBTQ+ young people seriously considered attempting suicide at some point in time during the past 12 months. Over 50 percent of transgender and nonbinary young people seriously considered suicide during that same time period. This rate of suicidal thought is noticeably greater than that associated with the broader community of young people in the United States.
LGBTQ+ Youth and Anxiety Disorder
68 percent of all LGBTQ+ young people advised that they suffered symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder during the past two weeks. 75 percent of transgender and nonbinary young people reported experiencing generalized anxiety disorder in the past couple of weeks as well. As is discussed in a moment, a percentage of these young people had wanted professional assistance in regard to anxiety but were unable to access that help, for one reason or another.
LGBTQ+ Youth and Self-Harm
The National Survey results reveal that 48 percent of LGBTQ+ young people reported that they engaged in an act of self-harm during the past 12-month time period. As with other aspects of the National Survey, the rate was higher with transgender and nonbinary youth. 60 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth report that they engaged in acts of self-harm at some juncture during the past year.
Desire for Counseling
When it comes to LGBTQ+ young people, 46 percent of youth in this demographic cohort reported that they desired to obtain psychological or emotional counseling from a qualified mental health professional. Despite wanting this type of professional assistance, these young people were unable to receive it during the previous 12 months.
Incidence of Conversion Therapy
The National Survey revealed that 10 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported “undergoing” (being subjected to) so-called conversion therapy. 78 percent of LGBTQ+ reported that the conversion therapy occurred before turning the age of 18.
Incidence of Physical Violence
Approximately 33 percent of LGBTQ+ young people reported in the National Survey that they had been physically threatened or physically harmed during the course of their lifetimes as a result of their LGBTQ+ identity.
Bathrooms and Gender Identity
The National Survey did address the matter of bathrooms and gender identity. 61 percent of transgender and nonbinary young people indicated that they were being prevented (or at least discouraged) from using a bathroom that corresponds with their own gender identity.
Pronouns and Gender Identity
The National Survey revealed that transgender and nonbinary young people reported that having their desired pronouns respected and used by all or most people experienced a lower rate of suicide attempts. According to the National Survey, the suicide rate of transgender and nonbinary youth with respected pronouns was approximately 50 percent the rate of those that did not have pronoun respect and use.
Finally, the National Survey revealed that 86 percent of LGBTQ+ young people reported that the current political climate has negatively impacted their sense of well-being.
Professionals in the field of providing therapeutic and support services to younger members of the LGBTQ+ community assert that it is highly important to develop an understanding of the impact different issues have on a young LGBTQ+ person’s life. Odds are strong that in many individual cases, a LGBTQ+ young person will be facing more than one of the commonplace issues presented in this article.