For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, high school is often a happy and enjoyable time filled with changes and challenges, but also one of questions and concerns. Concerns of fitting in at school as openly gay, coming out to one’s parents, and post-coming-out problems are just some of difficulties that youth may face. Parents should be aware of the symptoms of depression and anxiety as their child may exhibit those symptoms. Lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents are also at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide. A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers, according to the American Journal of Public Health.
LGBTQ youth and parents can utilize counseling with a skilled practitioner as a way to help support their journey through this often difficult time of adjustment and change. Coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender can be a scary thing for a child or teenager as they may fear rejection from parents, families, peers, and teachers. Having the support of a therapist can be instrumental for a child or teenager to receive the support, guidance, and information necessary to help them feel more equipped to handle any stresses they may face. Parents and families can also benefit from talking to a practitioner about the challenges and struggles they face in having a LGBTQ teen or child, as well as how they can have the best reactions to their child.
Russell ST, Joyner K. Adolescent sexual orientation and suicide risk: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health 2001;91:1276–1281.
**Useful websites –
http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb02/generation.aspx – “A new generation of issues for LGBT clients” by the American Psychological Association
http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/protective/pdf/parents_influence_lgb.pdf – CDC Resource on Parent’s Influence on the Health of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Teens
http://www.glbthotline.org/ – A national hotline for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning people by providing free and confidential peer-support and local resources
http://www.hrc.org/blog/five-tips-when-coming-out-as-transgender – Five Tips for Coming Out as Transgender
https://gaycenter.org/ – The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center located at 208 W 13th Street, New York, NY 10011