Positive shifts in societal acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals have led LGBTQ+ youth to “come out” at younger developmental ages. However, if the youth is in an unsupportive or hostile environment during this time, the stress of having a stigmatized identity can have negative impacts on mental health and increases their risk of drug abuse as a possible coping mechanism. Additionally, according to the Trevor Project 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 40% of LGBTQ+ youth respondents seriously considered attempting suicide, 68% reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, and 46% reported that they wanted psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it.
Providers can support their LGBTQ+ youth patients by offering affirming care, accurate information on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression, and can work to increase family support. Below are resources to get started: