As I wrote last week, it’s extremely difficult to understand some of the nuances and differences of mental health outside of my own cishet male experience. In some cases, it’s near impossible. But in looking at looking at statistics and data, it’s also clear that certain groups and demographics of people are at a higher risk of mental health issues. Last week, I wrote about the male demographic because it was Men’s Health Week. This week, as we reach the end of Pride Month, I wanted to dive into some statistics and data surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. And though it won’t be news for our siblings in that community, it presents a harsh reality as we look to understand how LGBTQ+ persons are affected by mental health disorders and mental illness.
Just like we have before, it’s time to look at some statistics. From the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:
- LGBTQ+ individuals are three times as likely to experience a mental health disorder in comparison to individuals that identify as straight.
- LGBTQ+ teens are six times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than their heterosexual counterparts
- LGBTQ+ youth are also four times more likely to attempt suicide, have suicidal ideations or self-harm than straight youth.
- LGBTQ+ youth who come from highly rejecting families are over eight times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBTQ+ peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
From Mental Health America:
- Anywhere from 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.
- An estimated 20-30% of LGBTQ+ individuals abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population. 25% of LGBTQ+ individuals abuse alcohol, compared to 5-10% of the general population.
- LGBTQ+ individuals are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse
From the Trevor Project, which focuses on LGBTQ+ youth:
- 71% of LGBTQ+ youth reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the past year
- 39% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months.
- More than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered
- 76% of LGBTQ+ youth felt that the recent political climate impacted their mental health or sense of self
As I read these statistics (some of which I’ve seen before), something else jumped out at me – the correlation between these statistics and how LGBTQ+ persons are treated by their peers – especially youth For example, the Trevor Project’s data also contained these facts:
- 2 in 3 youth in the study reported that someone tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- 71% of LGBTQ+ youth in the study reported experiencing discrimination due to either their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Less than half of LGBTQ+ respondents were out to an adult at school.
- Youth are much less likely to disclose their gender identity than sexual orientation.
Sometimes, groups of people are disproportionately affected by mental health issues because of that group’s opinion and attitude on mental health. But we must acknowledge the correlation between how the LGBTQ+ community is treated and how prevalent mental health issues are for this demographic. It’s important to understand the role we all have to play to create spaces and relationships for people where they feel okay to be themselves. Mental health is a nuanced topic, and this is one of the many areas that need to be discussed more. Happy Pride Month 🏳️🌈