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The Latest Trevor Project Study: LGBTQ Youth Mental Health Problems Persist- But There’s Possibility of Hope

When I was 17 I did not intend to be homosexual. I didn’t want to be a lover of my basketball teammate as I did. I wore high heels and skirts at parties in hopes that they would hide my sexy behavior. I was certain that I would be alone for the rest of my life.

Now, fast forward to the past few days when I was celebrating my birthday on the 37th of July with a bunch of friends that are diverse in terms of race, profession, and sexual orientation and received invitations from my wife who is the most intelligent and gorgeous woman I have ever met. These moments remind me that it can indeed improve.

For the sake of context For context, I am a Black male, queer, masculine-presenting female, who is a psychiatrist. I’m enjoying the “dream,” technically. However, I still battle with extreme depression and anxiety despite consistently receiving medication and therapy for nearly 10 years. One of the main reasons that led me to decide to pursue a career initially was to gain a better understanding of my anxiety. It began to manifest itself during high school as anxiety attacks.

Not-so-typical coming-of-age experiences

My thoughts come from the findings from the Trevor Project’s third annual National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. For those who don’t know anything regarding The Trevor Project, it’s an organization dedicated to suicide prevention among lesbian and bisexual, gay transgender, queer, and questioning young people through 24-hour crisis-related services on platforms.

As a psychiatrist, the findings of the report this year are not shocking yet they are incredibly disturbing. Of the more than 35,000 LGBTQ teens who were surveyed and surveyed, 42 percent of those between the ages 13 to 24 had thought about suicide in the last 12 months, and more than half identified as trans or nonbinary.

If we examine the data, we can see that values were higher for people between the ages of 13 and 17 which is the range we refer to as “adolescence.” As the majority people think of the adolescent years, we usually imagine typical teenage anxieties focused on getting high grades, battling acne that is not so good or whether your crush loves you back.

For professionals in mental health, adolescents are a time when people attempt to define their identity and what they believe, and what they desire. What the Trevor Project report illustrates is that LGBTQ adolescents aren’t only dealing with the typical teenage issues and bullying, but also with constant harassment at school, and for certain, the place they’ll discover their next meal.

For instance, the HRC Foundation analysis of the CDC’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that 29 percent of transgender teens were threatened with a weapon while on school property. Research collected by The Trevor Project suggests that 30 percent of LGBTQ teens experienced hunger within the last month and that one out of four is likely to experience instability in their housing at the time of their lives.

These figures paint a different picture of the adolescence of LGBTQ teens and raise further concerns like the question of whether they’d like to remain alive.

This doesn’t mean that “typical” concerns of adolescents do not cause distress. But, from my personal experiences and those of my patients, I am aware of how difficult it can be to deal with both problems with psychosocial issues as well as the interconnected identities.

Although my anxiety attacks in high school could be triggered by tests or college applications an apparent lack of time because of other activities, my ongoing anxiety was sustained by anxiety about how I would did as an Black openly gay. I spent the majority of my energy and emotional alert, worried that my actions could be revealed as my identity to anyone who were around me.

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