Life as a teenager or young adult can be very exciting, yet along with growing independence and new beginnings, there can be quite a few challenges too. Contending with things like identity, the need for approval, self-esteem, and purpose can sometimes lead to an increased degree of anxiety, confusion, and sometimes periods of sadness or depression.
Most individuals get through their teen and young adult years without any major problems. They find ways to work through the periods of anxiety or depression in healthy ways. However, there are some that find it challenging to cope with their issues. Instead of employing healthy coping skills, they may resort to picking up alcohol or drugs to cope, or they may struggle in silence, allowing the pain to slowly steal their hope and joy. For some, the struggles will lead them to experience serious depression, or perhaps, have thoughts of suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that suicide is the third leading cause of death in America for those aged 10 to 14 and second in the age range of 15 to 34 years old. This is an overwhelming statistic because it indicates a significant number of our youth are suffering from so much pain that they feel their only escape is death.
Even more disheartening is the fact that those in the LGBTQ community are twice as likely to experience severe depression and suicidal ideation.
LGBTQ Young Adults and Depression
Why is the rate of depression higher in the LGBTQ community? Mental health experts state that these individuals often times have additional stressors than those who are heterosexuals. These include:
- Confusion about sexual identity or gender expression
- Rejection from family and friends
Many of them simply feel as if they are not accepted in their own families or society in general. The need to fit in and feel loved unconditionally is part of human nature. When someone does not feel comfortable in their own skin or their sexuality, it can lead to intense anxiety, fear, and feelings of rejection. It can become so strong that they can begin having suicidal thoughts. Mental health can become compromised and over time, the pain can become so great that they feel their only way out is to end their lives.
According to a report in 2013 by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network:
- 55% of LGBTQ youth do not feel safe at school directly due to their sexual orientation and 37% because of their gender expression.
- 74% were verbally bullied because of their sexual orientation and 55% because of their gender expression.
- 16% of the LGBTQ crowd were physically attacked because of sexual orientation and 11% because of their gender expression.
In addition, according to the True Colors Fund, about 40% of those who are homeless youth are of the LGBTQ community.
Help for LGBTQ Young Adults
Because of the sensitive nature of the issues surrounding the LGBTQ community, mental health professionals encourage those who are struggling to reach out for expert help. There are professionals who have been specifically trained to help those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts.
Treatments can include:
- Counseling with a psychologist – Being able to open up and talk about concerns regarding sexual identity or gender expression with a qualified counselor can be quite valuable. Each person needs to know that they are not alone, and there’s hope for them to get through their struggles, including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Sometimes, it just takes sorting things out with a professional who has been trained for such a position.
- Support groups – There are also various support groups for the LGBTQ community in schools and outside of schools. For those in school or college, being able to connect with others in the LGBTQ community can make a tremendously positive impact on their lives. In addition, young adults who may tend to feel alone in their community can connect with others their age in a supportive environment. Here are some wonderful community groups and initiatives to choose from LGBT CENTERS.
- Psychiatrist – For those who are suffering from moderate to severe depression, or perhaps a mental health disorder, medication may be therapeutic as well. Consulting a psychiatrist can be helpful to determine the exact treatment necessary to help those who are struggling.
The Claudia Black Center Is Here To Help You
Are you struggling with your sexual identity or gender expression? Are you experiencing depression? If so, consider reaching out for help. You do not have to navigate your feelings alone. At the Claudia Black Young Adult Center, our competent and compassionate clinicians and therapists specialize in treating both the symptoms of depression and the underlying causes.
Our program, located in the peaceful Sonoran Desert is a safe space for individuals to heal and find freedom. There is hope, and you deserve to live a life filled with peace and joy.
Call 855-333-6075 or text 928-487-4018 today to speak to a representative.