June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, a time to bring attention to the need for inclusion and equality in our communities. In our line of work with families and children, we recognize that LGBTQIA+ youth often deal with more frequent mental health struggles. The American Psychiatric Association stated that LGBTQIA+ individuals are 2.5 times more likely to have a mental health disorder in their lifetime. On top of all of that, aggression and violence have increased against the LGBTQIA+ community in recent years.
Mental health disorders include depression, anxiety, increased drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal ideation. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are several areas to be aware of potential issues including coming out conversations, trauma from bullying, substance abuse, homelessness and inadequate access to mental health resources.
As an adult in your community, you may wonder what you can do to help.
Demonstrating love and support is the most important thing you can do. Listen to concerns with an open mind and show up for them in real ways. You can educate yourself on how you can be an ally and promote inclusion through this great resource Trevor Support Center. Educating your own kids (regardless of sexuality) to be empathetic is also key. Listen to concerns; advice on being open and honest with peers and other family members; and respectfully ask questions, for example – “What are your preferred pronouns?”
While we can’t control those around us with anti-LGBTQ messages, we can control our own actions and how to respond when frustrated. Marches, parades, and demonstrations are a good way to act in numbers and show support in our community. To find out more about activities in Nashville this month, including the Nashville Pride Festival (June 24-25), visit the Tennessee Pride Chamber.
Anyone in crisis or searching for help for someone in crisis can call the Tennessee Statewide Crisis Hotline:
- 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471)
- Crisis TextLine – Text “TN” to 741741
If you are located in another state outside of Tennessee, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
- Dial 988
Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at www.youthvillages.org.
Crisis services are available 24/7 if your child needs support. Call 855-CRISIS-1 or text CONNECT to 741741. If you have thoughts of suicide, contact 988 to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.