Mental health among LGBTQ+ teenagers

Mental health is one of the most pressing issues facing teenagers today. Diagnoses of anxiety and depression are occurring more frequently and at increasingly younger ages. And while mental health disorders are increasing for teenagers in general, LGBTQ+ teenagers are at an even higher risk than their straight cisgender peers of experiencing anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. Consider the data related to mental health among LGBTQ+ teenagers and adults.

LGBT+ adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition. National Alliance on Mental Health

77% of LGBTQ+ teenagers surveyed reported feeling depressed or down during a given week. More than 70% report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. Human RIghts Campaign

95% of LGBTQ+ teenagers surveyed had trouble sleeping in the course of a week. Sleep deprivation is a well-documented cause and symptom of several mental health conditions. Human RIghts Campaign

The prevalence of feeling sad or hopeless was nearly three times higher among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth than their heterosexual peers. Human Rights Campaign

The numbers are even worse among LGBTQ+ teens who are also part of other minority groups. Compared to their nonminority LGBTQ+ peers, minority LGBTQ+ teenagers have higher rates of depression, yet are less likely to pursue therapy and counseling.

Faith also does not offer protection for LGBTQ+ young people. A 2019 study found gay and lesbian college students who said religion was “very important” to them were 38 percent more likey to have considered suicide than those who said religion was “somewhat” or “not very important.”

From “Welcoming and Affirming: A Guide to Supporting and Working with LGBTQ+ Christian Youth” by Leigh Finke – Broadleaf Books