Thursday, May 15, 2014

Are Your LGBT Children Mentally Healthy?


May is Mental Health Awareness Month

As a parent, no one knows your kid better than you.  You see him/her daily so it’s easy to notice personality or physical changes. Sure, teens can be moody; it’s o.k. to feel sad once in awhile, but a lingering sadness can spell D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N.

We’ve all read about the signs of depression: listlessness, loss of appetite, inability to enjoy activities, sleeplessness.  Studies show that LGBT children are more at risk for depression. Did you know that:
  • ·      37% of gay, 13-18 year-olds have attempted suicide as a result of bullying.
  • ·      San Francisco State University Chavez Center Institute has found that LGBTQ youth who come from a rejecting family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.
  • ·      Studies show that large numbers of gay-identified boys and girls do not feel safe at school, are often threatened or injured, and often stay home for fear of injury.
  • ·      The Urban Institute’s September 2013 survey found that 43 percent of LGBT teens in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania reported being victims of physical dating violence compared to 29% of heterosexual youth.
  • ·      Gay and transgender youth make up 40% of the homeless youth populations.
  • ·      In a Pediatrics study, LGB youth were up to 3 x more likely to have experienced school expulsions, police stops, juvenile arrests, and adult convictions that heterosexual teens.
  • ·      Recent study of Harvard researchers reported heightened rates of binge-eating among both GLB or “mostly heterosexual” youth.

Parental Rejecting Behaviors Main Cause of Problematic Behavior

Be your child’s main straight ally.  There is a clear association between parental non-acceptance and your child’s mental and physical health.  Your acceptance of your child’s LGBT identity makes all the difference in your child’s outlook.  Miserable and isolated or positive and healthy?  You have a big influence in the outcome.