Trigger Warning: Sensitive mental health topics are discussed throughout this news report.
The advances made by the LGBTQ+ community toward attaining equality have been noteworthy over the past few years. However, this progress is riddled with a variety of challenges posed by a staggering number of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation nationwide.
In 2023 thus far, the American Civil Liberties Union is tracking over 470 anti-LGBTQ+ bills across the United States. These bills have been introduced in Congress and State Legislatures with impacts on LGBTQ+ rights. Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has an influence not only on the community’s rights, but also on mental health.
LGBTQ folks, especially LGBTQ youth, take care of yourselves. 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️
Know that you are loved. We will continue to fight and speak out against the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, legislation and misinformation. Don't let hate overpower your joy.
— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) May 4, 2023
Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ youth report high rates of mental health challenges and suicide risks according to a national survey released this month. The Trever Project polled 28,000 LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 to 24. Results indicated that 41% of respondents had seriously considered attempting suicide throughout previous years. In reaction, mental health experts are speaking out to provide insight and advice about mental health wellness in the LGBTQ+ community.
Sean Conolly, an LGBTQ+ coordinator for the Illinois Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, lost his sister to suicide 10 years ago this month. “This 10th year anniversary, it's really disheartening to see these bills that are not taking mental health care seriously, and not respecting the risks that they're putting the LGBT population and I know my sister will feel that way,” Conolly told NBC Chicago.
May is Mental Health Awareness month. Rainbow Youth Project continues to provide no cost access to meaningful mental health services to LGBTQ+ young people across the country. Due to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, the need has increased significantly. Please know you are not alone. pic.twitter.com/w5kZ9xztLC
— Rainbow Youth Project USA (@RainbowYouthUSA) May 7, 2023
The well-being of the LGBTQ+ community has been of great concern given the constant tribulations in recent years. Mental health experts advocate that all individuals contribute to providing an environment for the LGBTQ+ community to thrive. In 2019, the Trever Project outlined that LGBTQ+ youth who have at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt.
“Knowing that they can come to you and talk and have support is so critical to protecting their mental health,” stated Angela Cummings, the executive director of the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health challenges, support resources are available to guide anyone in need toward leading healthier and happier lifestyles. For free, 24-hour support, contact the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8 or the Trevor Project Helpline at 1-866-488-7386.
With over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills being considered in a majority of states across the country, it’s more important than ever to affirm the young people in your life.
No matter where you are, know you always have someone to talk to, 24/7. Text START to 678678 or call 1-866-488-7386. pic.twitter.com/MpZlFVEQYD
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) May 12, 2023