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The Trevor Project Releases New State-Level Data on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, Victimization, & Access to Support

BY: Trevor News
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For the first time, this new report presents findings on the experiences of thousands of LGBTQ youth in the U.S., segmented by all 50 states.

December 15, 2022 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, published its first-ever state-level analysis of LGBTQ youth mental health in all 50 states. Based on The Trevor Project’s most recent national survey, which captured the experiences of nearly 34,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 in the U.S., these data provide critical insights into the suicide risk, barriers to mental health care, anti-LGBTQ victimization, and negative impacts of recent politics reported by LGBTQ youth. These data also point to ways in which people can support the LGBTQ youth in their lives by highlighting access to accepting communities, LGBTQ-affirming spaces, and social support among family and friends — protective factors that are consistently associated with lower suicide risk.

While the report offers in-depth findings for each of the 50 states, below is a snapshot of key findings for the five most populous states in the U.S. — underscoring disparities in mental health challenges and key risk and protective factors among youth who live in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania:   

California

  • Considered Suicide: 44% of LGBTQ youth in California seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 54% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Attempted Suicide: 14% of LGBTQ youth in California attempted suicide in the past year, including 19% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Access to Care: 62% of LGBTQ youth in California who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it, including 58% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Discrimination: 70% of LGBTQ youth in California reported that they have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Affirming Spaces – School: 50% of LGBTQ youth in California identified their school as an LGBTQ-affirming space.
  • Community Acceptance: 75% of LGBTQ youth in California reported that their community was somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ people.

Texas

  • Considered Suicide: 47% of LGBTQ youth in Texas seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Attempted Suicide: 16% of LGBTQ youth in Texas attempted suicide in the past year, including 20% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Access to Care: 68% of LGBTQ youth in Texas who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it, including 65% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Discrimination: 74% of LGBTQ youth in Texas reported that they have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Affirming Spaces – School: 43% of LGBTQ youth in Texas identified their school as an LGBTQ-affirming space.
  • Community Acceptance: 56% of LGBTQ youth in Texas reported that their community was somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ people.


Florida

  • Considered Suicide: 45% of LGBTQ youth in Florida seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 54% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Attempted Suicide: 16% of LGBTQ youth in Florida attempted suicide in the past year, including 20% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Access to Care: 65% of LGBTQ youth in Florida who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it, including 63% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Discrimination: 74% of LGBTQ youth in Florida reported that they have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Affirming Spaces – School: 43% of LGBTQ youth in Florida identified their school as an LGBTQ-affirming space.
  • Community Acceptance: 61% of LGBTQ youth in Florida reported that their community was somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ people.

New York

  • Considered Suicide: 41% of LGBTQ youth in New York seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 50% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Attempted Suicide:12% of LGBTQ youth in New York attempted suicide in the past year, including 16% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Access to Care: 58% of LGBTQ youth in New York who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it, including 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Discrimination: 69% of LGBTQ youth in New York reported that they have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Affirming Spaces – School: 45% of LGBTQ youth in New York identified their school as an LGBTQ-affirming space.
  • Community Acceptance: 70% of LGBTQ youth in New York reported that their community was somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ people.

Pennsylvania

  • Considered Suicide: 44% of LGBTQ youth in Pennsylvania seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 54% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Attempted Suicide: 14% of LGBTQ youth in Pennsylvania attempted suicide in the past year, including 19% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Access to Care: 56% of LGBTQ youth in Pennsylvania who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it, including 54% of transgender and nonbinary youth.
  • Discrimination: 71% of LGBTQ youth in Pennsylvania reported that they have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Affirming Spaces – School: 42% of LGBTQ youth in Pennsylvania identified their school as an LGBTQ-affirming space.
  • Community Acceptance: 59% of LGBTQ youth in Pennsylvania reported that their community was somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ people.

“For years, The Trevor Project’s research has worked to increase our understanding of the mental health challenges and suicide risk faced by LGBTQ young people across the United States. For the first time, these new data allow us to examine these young people’s experiences state by state,” said Carrie Davis (she/her), Chief Community Officer at The Trevor Project. “Especially as we anticipate another record wave of anti-LGBTQ bills in 2023, these findings underscore the disparities in access to mental health care and systems of support among LGBTQ youth, a group consistently found to be at significantly increased risk for suicide due to the anti-LGBTQ victimization they face, and how they are mistreated in society at large. We hope that fellow researchers, lawmakers, youth-serving professionals, and allies in every state will use these data to uplift LGBTQ young people and advocate for policies that celebrate and support them – not isolate them further.”

This first-of-its-kind report was published at the end of a record year for anti-LGBTQ legislation, in which more than 220 anti-LGBTQ bills were considered in a majority of states across the country. In particular, Texas and Florida made national news as a result of the Texas governor’s unlawful directive to investigate families who support their transgender and nonbinary kids and prosecute them as “child abusers,” and Florida’s passage of the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law, banning “classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” Many leading LGBTQ advocates anticipate yet another hostile legislative session ahead in 2023, as more than 60 anti-LGBTQ bills have already been pre-filed in state legislatures.
If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678.

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