Young #LGBTQ+ community members suffer from disproportionate levels of #stress.
By Alexandra Kelley
Story at a glance
- Despite legal and social improvements, younger #LGBTQ+ members report higher levels of #stress.
- New research attributes this to coming out at a younger age.
- Connection with a larger #LGBTQ+ community is listed as a key support.
New data published in early March reveals the continuation of a disturbing trend: the disproportionate amount of stress placed on #LGBTQ+ youth and the negative health outcomes that follow.
Studying three cohorts of self-professed members of the #LGBTQ+ community across three generations, spanning 1956-1997 South African researchers found that despite the improved visibility and representation of #homosexuality and other sexual identities, #LGBTQ+ individuals still suffer from psychological distress.
This is primarily attributed to #LGBTQ+ people coming out at younger ages, placing them at odds with cultural and social pressures while still growing up.
Both violent and internalized #homophobia and other societal #stigmas are also identified as major stressors, especially among younger members of the observed cohort as opposed to older #LGBTQ+ individuals.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
Additionally, 30 percent of study participants in the younger age group reported attempting at least one #suicide attempt, a higher figure than the 24 percent and 21 percent reported among the middle-aged and older participants, respectively.
This is higher than the average percentage of individuals between the ages of 18 to 24 who attempt #suicide, which researchers document as just four percent.
“We found little evidence that social and legal improvements during the past 50 years in the status of sexual #minority people have altered the experiences of sexual #minority people in terms of exposure to #minority stressors and resultant adverse #mentalhealth outcomes,” the authors concluded. “Most tellingly, younger sexual #minority people did not have less psychological distress or fewer #suicide attempts than older sexual #minority people.”
The U.S. #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention has long documented the #mentalhealth of #LGBTQ+ #youth as a major public health concern. Data up to 2018 reveals that #gay, #lesbian, #bisexual and other sexual #minorities reported having “seriously considered” or attempted #suicide was higher than their heterosexual peers.
Researchers suggest that #mentalhealth in #LGBTQ+ people can be improved by connecting with a greater #LGBTQ+ community, living among values denouncing homophobia and having role models who have healthy lives as sexual #minorities.
“These findings indicate the extent to which changes in the social environment have been limited in their impact on #stress processes and #mentalhealth for sexual #minority people,” the authors conclude. “They call our attention to the continued need to recognize threats to the #health and well-being of sexual #minority people across all ages and remind us that #LGBT equality remains elusive.”