A new mental health survey out Monday from The Trevor Project shows 41% of LGBTQ young people seriously contemplated attempting suicide in the last year.
The organization surveyed more than 28,000 LGBTQ people aged 13-24 nationwide.
The survey also found that 81% of LGBTQ young people wanted mental health care in the past year, but of those, 56% did not receive any.
“I know so many people who have attempted, who have suicidal thoughts,” said Alex Carroll, a member of the nonprofit NYC Youth 4 Trans Rights. “I think it’s shocking, but I think it’s the hard truth that everyone needs to know.”
“I’m in that 41%, and once you’re in it, it’s really hard to get out of it, even if you have a super great support system,” said Kat Garcia, a member of NYC Youth for Trans Rights.
“Middle school was a really tough time,” said Quinn Canales, a transgender college student who is also part of the non-profit. “I personally attempted twice because I was not able to get the proper help I needed.”
Canales, Garcia and Carroll all attest to the life-saving benefits of mental health resources and a good support system.
“I have very great counselors at my school,” said Garcia. “If I hadn’t been feeling like I was able to talk to them, I don’t know what I’d be doing. I don’t know what I’d be feeling.”
Psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Gardere said we will continue to see higher suicide rates within the LGBTQ community until they have the support, respect and love they deserve.
“There aren’t enough services out there,” said Gardere. “There is not enough cultural sensitivity, cultural competence, with the providers who are providing that care.”
According to The Trevor Project, nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ young people said their mental health was poor most of the time or all of the time because of anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation. Clark Wolff Hamel with PFlag NYC noted that the current political climate is a contributing factor.
“Teenagers – young people especially between the ages of 13-18 – are watching this play out,” said Hamel. “And no matter where they live, no matter where they’re located, they are scared. And that affects their mental health.”
According to The Trevor Project’s research, just a little understanding and support can go a long way. LGBTQ young people reported lower rates of attempted suicide if they had access to affirming spaces and gender-neutral school bathrooms and lived with people who respect their pronouns.
“Just using a trans child’s chosen name, just doing that consistently, makes a massive difference,” said Hamel.
“As little as a name could really help and could really make someone’s day,” said Canales.
Raven Benjamin, also a member of NYC Youth 4 Trans Rights, said she wants to be treated like anyone else.
“You need to realize that we’re people, too,” said Benjamin. We’re not that different from you. We were just born in the wrong body. And we shouldn’t be treated badly for that.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It is a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources.