Caring for our LGBTQ+ Youth
As we all know, depression and anxiety tend to pervade our society as what appears to be an increasingly prevalent problem. And as the recent pandemic has demonstrated, there is an increasing need for mental health care, especially among our youth. LGBTQ+ youth in particular are an underserved community in need of mental health care. According to the Trevor Project, 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, yet 60% of LGBTQ+ youth who wanted mental health care were not able to receive it. Support from families and communities helps lower the risk of suicide yet that still isn’t available for many youth. Florida, specifically, tends to rank highly with having school settings that are unsupportive of LGBTQ+ youth. GLSEN’s 2021 survey demonstrated that 63% of students experienced at least one instance of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination at school including remarks from school staff members, with 76% of students from the survey reporting hearing negative remarks about someone’s gender expression. Furthermore, 32% of LGBTQ+ students were prevented from using their preferred name or pronouns. And of all the schools, only 37% had access to a GSA club or similar space offering a supportive and welcoming environment for students.
It’s clear that there is a need for increased support and mental health care for the LGBTQ+ community, especially among Florida students. Therefore, it is essential to create an environment that can offer a reprieve from discrimination and welcome those who are looking for a place to be openly accepted regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. It is my hope that I can create a welcoming office space that allows people to be themselves, free from the burden to be anything other than that. And for parents and family members seeking guidance on how best to support their LGBTQ+ loved ones, I will be happy to assist you with finding resources and using the therapeutic space to navigate connecting with your loved ones with empathy, support, and nonjudgmentalness. As the great RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”