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Healthy Living Blog – The Holiday Struggle for LGBTQ+ Youth

The holidays are a happy time that brings family and friends together, but this may not be the case for LGBTQ+ youth. For LGBTQ+ youth at home, the holidays may cause more stress and anxiety, especially if they are not out to their loved ones or if their loved ones have not yet accepted who they are. For LGBTQ+ youth who have been kicked out of their homes by their families, the holidays can be a painful reminder of the people who rejected them. It’s important to know that LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to have more mental health crises during the holiday season.

 

The mental health of LGBTQ+ youth

In general, research shows that LGBTQ+ individuals are three times more likely to experience a mental health condition than heterosexual or cisgender people. This means that LGBTQ+ youth face higher rates of experiencing mental health conditions such as depression and suicidal behavior.

In 2019, The Trevor Project did a national survey on LGBTQ+ youth mental health. The survey had over 34,000 respondents. Findings include:

  • 71% of LGBTQ+ youth said that they felt very sad or hopeless for at least two weeks.
  • 71% of LGBTQ+ youth said they were discriminated against because of either their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • 39% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months; at least 50% of transgender and non-binary youth seriously considered.
  • 76% of LGBTQ+ youth said that the current political climate impacts their mental health.

 

The effect of the holidays on LGBTQ+ youth mental health

LGBTQ+ youth may feel increased levels of:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive feelings
  • Trauma
  • Fear (fear of rejection)

 

Here are tips to help LGBTQ+ youth protect their mental health during the holiday season:

  • If you are planning to come out during the holidays, practice talking about your identity with a trusted friend.
  • Reflect on your needs and what you have to do to help yourself feel good during and after the holidays.
  • Practice self-acceptance and express your true self. This is helpful especially after spending time with family members who have not fully accepted you.
  • Create a self-care plan. Make a list of your personal boundaries and your triggers. Do activities that will calm you down for when you feel very stressed or anxious.
  • Seek support right away if you feel overwhelmed with your family. Get help if you feel more depressed or are having suicidal thoughts.
    • You can call the 24/7 TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386 for crisis help or suicide prevention.
    • You can also use the 24/7 TrevorText by texting START to 678-678 to talk to a Trevor counselor.

 

Have questions or curious to learn more?  Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment to speak with a doctor.  AACI provides services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!