This week I’m blessed to have Caleb Woods as a guest in my private Facebook group for parents of LGBTQ kids. Caleb is a young gay man who wrote a book about his struggles with mental illness in the book, “Harnessing Darkness.”
Many of our kids experience anxiety and depression but it seems to especially affect LGBTQ youth.
According to Mental Health America:
- “As compared to people that identify as straight, LGBT individuals are 3 times more likely to experience a mental health condition.
- “LGBT youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts, and engage in self-harm, as compared to youths that are straight.
- “38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.
- “An estimated 20-30% of LGBT individuals abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population. 25% of LGBT individuals abuse alcohol, compared to 5-10% of the general population.
- “2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse.”
In “Anxiety and Depression Association of America”, Brad Brenner, PhD. writes:
“Somewhere between 30 and 60 percent of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, or transgender people deal with anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. That rate is 1.5 to 2.5 times higher than that of their straight or gender-conforming counterparts.”
These are alarming statistics and says to me that as parents, we need to stay aware and alert to our children’s changing moods. And they we need to be proactive, getting them the help they need.
When looking for that help, we also need to be search for a therapist or doctor who will be affirming of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. How can you be sure? Of course, we can never be sure.
Do your research. Do google searches on them. Look closely at their web page. Find them on LinkedIn and/or Facebook. Don’t just read about them, read what they post, what they like, who they are affiliated with.
Even then, we cannot be certain. It’s also important to let your child know that they can come to you with any concerns they have about their therapist. Be available and listen with an open mind and open heart. Be their advocate. Let them know they don’t have to go through this alone. Reassure them over and over that you love them and they are worthwhile.
Caleb is an example of hope. There is help and it does get better.