Last June, I took a deep dive into some statistics and data surrounding mental health and the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month. Like many other communities, there is a big disparity in the amount of LGBTQ+ individuals who deal with mental health issues, and the numbers speak to that. And though it won’t be news for our siblings in that community, it presents the stark reality present as we look to understand how LGBTQ+ folks are affected by mental health disorders and mental illness.
According to the Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021:
- 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
- 12% of white youth attempted suicide compared to 31% of Native/Indigenous youth, 21% of Black youth, 21% of multiracial youth, 18% of Latinx youth, and 12% of Asian/Pacific Islander youth.
- 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health.
- In the past year, nearly half of LGBTQ youth have wanted counseling from a mental health professional, but did not receive it.
From the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
- 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide in their lifetime, compared to less than 5% of the general U.S. population.
- LGB adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition, and transgender individuals are nearly four times as likely as cisgender individuals to experience a mental health condition.
- LGB adults are nearly twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a substance use disorder. Transgender individuals are almost four times as likely as cisgender individuals to experience a substance use disorder.
From the American Psychiatric Association:
- LGBTQ individuals are more than twice as likely as heterosexual men and women to have a mental health disorder in their lifetime.
- LGBTQ individuals are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals.
As I reflected on these statistics and what they’re saying, I thought a lot about the conclusion I came to when I wrote a similar post last year:
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.
It’s not enough to acknowledge that there is a link between mental health disparities among our LGBTQ+ friends and the way that society treats them. We must be clear that if we want these disparities to shrink, they need to go hand in hand with more love and support from the rest of us, and a willingness to love on and provide resources for those who need them. Happy Pride Month 2021 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️