LGBTQ Youth and Mental Health Disorders

By, Kyle Bevenour

Photo courtesy of Tagg Magazine

Photo courtesy of Tagg Magazine

Certain communities need to address the important issue of mental health. According to three U.S. studies published in the April 16th issue of Pediatrics, LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience problems with mental health, bullying and abuse.

One such study reviewed around 1,000 medical records of transgender and gender-nonconforming teens. The study’s lead author at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, Tracy Becerra-Culqui, noted, “In nearly all instances, mental health diagnoses were more common for transgender and gender non-conforming youth than for youth who identify with the gender assigned at birth, also known as cisgender youth.” Depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder (ADD) were three to 13 times more prevalent in LGBTQ youth. In addition to the aforementioned disorders, LGBTQ participants experienced suicidal thoughts and self-harming.

A second study examined data from 82,000 high school students in Minnesota and found that LGTBQ youth experienced higher rates of bullying and mistreatment compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers.

The third study found that bullying and mistreatment of LGBTQ youth at school and in other environments and/or unsupportive families can cause depression.

Mental health is an issue that we as a society need to take seriously. As studies has shown, LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of untreated mental health disorders.

Kyle Bevenour