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Health Considerations For LGBTQ Youth

Health Considerations For LGBTQ Youth

LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/ questioning that is colloquially used to describe an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Teenagers that identify as non-heterosexual or non-cisgender may also consider themselves members of the LGBTQ community. The federal government has taken steps (e.g. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to actively protect LGBTQ community members against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/ or sexual orientation. Still, young people that identify members of the LGBTQ community often face a plethora of adverse challenges. 

Health Considerations

LGBTQ youth are often subject to hate crimes (e.g., physical and/ or emotional abuse, threats, public humiliation, etc.), sexual orientation discrimination, and/ or rejection from loved ones. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors states that LGBTQ members are at higher risk of alcohol and/ or drug abuse than non-LGBTQ members. The Human Rights Campaign asserts that LGBTQ youth are more likely to face bullying, interpersonal violence, and have a 120% higher risk of homelessness than those that identify as cisgender, heterosexual teens. The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found transgender students to be more likely than cisgender students to “report violence victimization, substance use, and suicide risk, and although generally more likely to report sexual risk behaviors, were also more likely to report being tested for HIV.” The data gathered illuminates some of the disparities that exist between transgender and cisgender youth. 

LGBTQ youth may benefit from guidance from a mental health professional to help with exploring gender identity or expression, explore sexual orientation, identify, and manage depression and/ or anxiety, navigate bullying or discrimination, and more. Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to enable access to care for LGBTQ members. The Mayo Clinic explains that “gender dysphoria is a feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics.” Gender dysphoria is not a mental illness, however, the disconnect that occurs between a teenager’s assigned sex at birth and one’s internal sense of self can result in undue pain and distress. 

For Information and Support

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, in the long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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