September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time to recognize the impact that suicide has on schools. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for adolescents ages 13–18 and a preventable loss of life for our youth population. All students are at risk for mental health disorders and may suffer from anxiety, depression, self-harm, or suicidal ideation. Some students, like those who identify as LGBTQ+, may be at a greater risk to experience struggles related to their mental health.
In a recent report, the Trevor Project uncovered some alarming statistics:
- 70% of LGBTQ youth stated that their mental health was “poor” most of the time or always during COVID-19
- 72% of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in the past two weeks, including more than three in four transgender and nonbinary youth
- 62% of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of major depressive disorder in the past two weeks, including more than two in three transgender and nonbinary youth
- 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth
- 48% of LGBTQ youth reported they wanted counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past year
This data indicates that LGBTQ students are suffering at disproportionate rates compared to their straight-identifying peers. The LGBT identity itself is not the cause of these mental health challenges. According to Youth.gov, these high rates may be due to experiencing discrimination, microaggressions, or rejection from family or friends because of their sexual or gender identity.
Awareness is the first step to proactively approaching suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ students. Building relationships with these students and making sure they feel safe and connected to their school environment can go a long way in providing support. That same report by The Trevor Project concluded that LGBTQ youth who were able to access spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity were less likely to consider or attempt an act of suicide.
If you have LGBTQ+ students who have expressed thoughts of anxiety, depression, or self-harm, they may need professional interventions like therapy. Gaggle Therapy can connect these students with therapists for private sessions with no out-of-pocket costs for the students or families to use. This National Suicide Prevention Month, get LGBTQ+ students the help they need before a crisis happens.