Supporting teens who identify as LGBTQ
10/27/2022 by Marcie Billings, M.D.
It's not uncommon for teens to experience mental health issues like anxiety. It's believed that 1 in 5 young people experiences some type of mental health issue during the teen years.
For LGBTQ youth, the statistics are alarming. A recent national survey showed 45% expressed serious suicidal ideation.
These teens need support. If the teen in your life identifies as LGBTQ and decides to share that information, lending an ear is an important first step. Supporting children is critical.
LGBTQ youth with high levels of support from family had less than half the rate of suicide attempts, compared to youth who felt low to moderate support, according to the survey.
Even if it's something that you're not sure of what to do, just be that listening ear, extending your love and support. Don't worry about getting it perfect.
And you don't have to do it alone.
Mayo has a lot of avenues into different resources, including mental health care professionals and medical professionals — whatever the needs are for that population of kids.
Read more about how to help children:
- "Advocating for transgender children's health care."
- "5 ways to help teens overcome suicidal thoughts."
- "Social media risks: Tips to keep your children safe."
- "5 things you need to know about mental health and girls."
Marcie Billings, M.D., is chair of the Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and a pediatrician with Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson. Her special areas of practice are adolescent medicine and eating disorders.