Updated: Dec 24, 2021
Writer: Emily Liu
Editor: Marijn Raemaekers
Visual: Yasmeen Maulani
The LGBTQ+ community - a group consisting of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and many more individuals - is a community that celebrates pride, individuality, and sexuality. Due to stigmas concerning people of the LGBTQ+ community, there is an epidemic of mental health challenges that have arisen among members. It is proven that members of this community are usually at higher risks of experiencing mental illnesses — especially depression and anxiety disorders — than the average individual (National Alliance on Mental Health). Furthermore, LGBT adults are above twice as likely as heterosexuals to experience a mental issue.
Transgender individuals are almost four times as likely as cisgender people (those whose gender identity tunes in with their birth sex) to experience a mental condition. And finally, LGBT youth also face heighten risks for mental health conditions and suicidal tendencies as they are above twice as likely to be reported of experiencing constant emotions of sadness and/or hopelessness than the heterosexual individuals. Transgender children face even further disparities as they are twice as likely to experience depression, seriously consider ending their lives, and then proceed to attempt suicide than other youthful figures their age. This detrimental pandemic has one common denominator - discrimination, oppression, denial of rights, harassment and family rejection - all of these aspects leading to new or more serious symptoms. For more information that can be applicable to our own community: high school students who identify as lesbian, gay or bi are more than four times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to their heterosexual peers. An additional 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide in their lifetime, compared to less than 5% of the general U.S. population (National Alliance on Mental Health). Further research also shows that they are one of the most seriously targeted communities by hate crimes, abuse and violence.
This despairful epidemic is one that has taken over the lives of countless LGBTQ+ members, and with the COVID pandemic in sight - it continues to grow and heighten in strength and severity. As individuals of such a diverse high school community it is not only our job to educate ourselves, but offer support to anyone suffering from the challenges of mental health wherever and whenever we can. With that said, here is a resource to learn more about what you can do to support the mental health of those in the LGBTQ+ community.