For the past few years, I’ve done research surrounding mental health and the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month. I think it’s important to understand what mental health challenges exist for unique communities and groups of people, and these statistics help paint that picture. There is a lot to unpack here, but one thing is clear – there are many, many LGBTQIA+ people, both youth and adults, who are unable to get the mental health care they need and deserve.
According to the Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2022:
- 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth and 1 in 3 cisgender youth.
- 14% of LGBTQ youth attempted suicide in the past year, including nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth and 1 in 10 cisgender youth.
- 12% of white youth attempted suicide in the past year, compared to 21% of Native/Indigenous youth, 20% of Middle Eastern/Northern African youth, 19% of Black youth, 17% of Multiracial youth, 16% of Latinx youth, 12% of Asian American/Pacific Islander youth
- 73% of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety
- 58% of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing symptoms of depression
- 60% of LGBTQ youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get 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 much research as I’ve tried to do, statistics surrounding mental health in LGBTQIA+, especially adults, are hard to come by. But every year I write this post and see these statistics, and I come to the same conclusion. We are not meeting this community with what they need from a mental healthcare perspective; we are failing them the same way we fail almost every group of people in this country when it comes to mental health resources, services and care. And we must, must, must do better.
But if we want these numbers to shrink, we have to acknowledge the harm being done to these communities, and that love, support, and sharing information and resources is needed now more than ever. Love is love, and people deserve to be themselves – and we need to shout that from the rooftops. Happy Pride Month 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️