Mental health services can be life-saving for LGBTQ youth—but only if they can access them.
The Trevor Project's second annual National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, is shedding light on the urgent need for mental health resources among America's queer youth. Of the survey's 40,000 LGBTQ respondents ages 13–24, some 40% reported "seriously considered attempting suicide" in the past 12 months.
For transgender and nonbinary young people, that same figure exceeded 50%.
What's more, nearly half of participants (46%) said they wanted mental health resources like counseling or therapy but were unable to access them in the past year. Ability to afford care was the most commonly cited barrier (50%), followed closely by concerns about getting permission from a parent or caregiver (44%). These figures are especially concerning given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a particularly devastating toll on the mental health of LGBTQ youth nationwide, according to an April 2020 report from The Trevor Project.
The findings also reinforced the need for affirming adults in the lives of LGBTQ youth. According to this year's survey, trans and nonbinary respondents were half as likely to attempt suicide if their pronouns and gender identity were respected by "all or most people" in their lives.
As NewNowNext previously reported, two 2019 reports from The Trevor Project emphasized the power of acceptance and validation—two seemingly small factors—in reducing the risk of suicidal thoughts or attempts for queer young people.
In a media statement, Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, said the data "provides critical insights into the lives of LGBTQ youth and risk factors for suicide":
We strongly urge public health officials and policymakers to make significant investments in mental health research and support programs that take an intersectional approach to meet the unique needs of diverse communities across the country. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to suicide prevention does not work; the need for robust research, systematic data collection, and comprehensive mental health support has never been greater.
To read to 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health in full, click here.