Improving care. Changing lives.

LGBTQ+ Youth and Mental Health

By Dr. Fabienne Bain, Clinical Director of The Baker Center for Children and Families at Waltham 

As we end the second week of Pride Month, it’s important to acknowledge why we celebrate in the first place. While Pride’s origins are largely historical, the month is used as an opportunity to put a spotlight on the specific issues and challenges the LGBTQ+ community has overcome or continues to fight against.

Chief among these issues are statistics that prove a distinct pattern of LGBTQ+ youth experiencing a disproportionate amount of mental health challenges compared to their heterosexual peers. There are many reasons for this, as the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth are unparalleled. When you factor in concepts such as coming out (and the possibility of family rejection), intolerance at school and in the community (which frequently leads to bullying and harassment), limited LGBTQ+ related-support, and substance use (often used as a coping mechanism), it’s no surprise to see that nearly 40% of all LGBTQ+ youth have reported a mental health challenge. This statistic paints a picture of thousands of youth in need of support.

So, now that we’ve identified this problem, how can we address it? The simple answer is to continue to celebrate Pride and place emphasis on providing adequate mental health resources for LGBTQ+ youth in need. At Judge Baker, we offer outpatient treatment at our two clinic locations: The Baker Center for Children and Families in Waltham and the Center for Effective Child Therapy in Boston. Our treatment methods are evidence-based, meaning they’ve been proven to be effective, and are specifically tailored to youth and teens.

If you suspect someone you love may be struggling with a mental health condition, don’t wait. We’re here to help. Stay tuned throughout the rest of Pride Month as we discuss the specific mental health conditions LGBTQ+ youth commonly experience and how they are treated. For additional information on mental health statistics for LGBTQ+ youth, please reference Supporting Transgender & Gender-Nonconforming (T/GNC) Youth in Massachusetts, a report written by our Evidence-Based Policy Institute