More than 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ college students considered dropping out of school due to mental health challenges, according to a survey cited by Yahoo News.
Additionally, 92% of the surveyed students reported that their mental health status has negatively impacted their college experience.
The results raise concerns about the long-term impact if the students don’t finish school, according to Jessica Bryant, analyst at BestColleges who authored the report.
“With educational outcomes, it doesn’t just end there with education, it impacts all future outcomes,” said Bryant. “If we are seeing less LGBTQIA students completing college, that will mean less LGBTQIA students in the workforce in the end, that’s not good either.”
While students cited financial barriers and challenges in getting appointments as the top obstacles in getting mental health assistance, a lack of LGBTQ counselors is a concern Laura Horne hears most often. She is the chief program officer for Active Minds, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about mental health among young adults.
A positive step in addressing the latter challenge is training clinicians in LGBTQ topics and specific counseling, she said.
“They’re there to receive quality care, but instead they often have to educate their care providers about their identities, and I often hear as well that fear of discrimination when accessing care can lead students to choose not to get care,” said Horne, noting that a positive step to address the concerns. would be training clinicians in LGBTQ topics and specific counseling.
Horne also said addressing mental health challenges requires a focus on prevention. That includes making all campus spaces affirming for LGBTQ community members.
“I think that LGBTQ health and well-being is often delegated to the counseling center or to the LGBTQ centers that are on campus. It needs to be elevated as a priority campus wide,” she said, adding, “We need heightened awareness of the fact that if we care about student mental health, we care about LGBTQ students, inclusion and belonging.”