HEALTHY MIND MATTERS
LGBTQ+ Teens tend to suffer more from mental illness and suicide ideation, study shows
May 12, 2023, 7:20 PM | Updated: May 13, 2023, 3:02 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Teens across the United States are struggling more and more with mental illness and suicide ideation, especially LGBTQ+ teens.
According to a recent CDC study, in 2021, almost half of LGBQ+ students seriously considered attempting suicide, nearly 1 in 4 attempted suicide and nearly 3 in 4 reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
“I think as adults, we need to do a better job of supporting LGBTQ+ youth,” Jessica Holzbauer said. She is a therapist at Huntsman Mental Health Institute.
Holzbauer said one way we can support LGBTQ+ youth is by using their preferred pronouns.
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“If individuals are called by their preferred pronouns, we see a 65% decrease in suicide attempts,” she said.
Jay Evans is a transgender teen, he said without that recognition of his pronouns, he feels lost.
“I feel like there’s no hope,” Evans said. “I feel like I’m just going to be this person that I’m not for the rest of my life and I’m never going to be seen as who I am.”
According to that same CDC study, in 2021 more than 1 in 10 LGBQ+ students did not go to school because of safety concerns; nearly 1 in 4 experienced sexual violence and nearly 1 in 4 were bullied at school.
Evans said he too has been bullied at school.
“People just don’t understand it, so they bully you for it,” Evans said.
Evans said he was able to find a safe space at his high school, on his color guard and band team.
“Regardless of who you are, you are welcome in that family,” he said.
He said he also finds safety in the youth space at the Utah Pride Center.
Where they offer resources like a queer closet, where you can dress in whatever clothes you feel most comfortable in.
“Seeing yourself as you in clothing that fits you, it’s the little bit of hope that everyone needs,” Evans said.
The center also offers activities for youth each day, peer to peer support groups, and support groups for youth and their parents.
“It makes me feel like I’m not alone and I have other people I can reach out to and have people like me I can hang out with,” Evans said.
Click here for more information on the Utah Pride Center and its recourses, visit their website.
All day Friday, KSL TV is dedicating its coverage to Teens In Crisis. The CDC published results of a concerning survey earlier this year, reporting increased sadness and mental distress among teen girls, LGBTQ+ youth and minority groups. We’ll look into what efforts are being made right here in Utah to help our youth.