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New Poll Details Impact of COVID-19 and Recent Violence Against Black Americans on Youth Mental Health

Conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project, the poll emphasizes how LGBTQ youth, especially those who are Black and/or transgender, have been most negatively impacted by the confluence of current events.

NEW YORK, NY — Today, The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) youth, released a new poll conducted by Morning Consult that highlights how the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent violence against Black Americans have affected LGBTQ youth and their mental health. 

The poll found that COVID-19 has made many LGBTQ youth’s living situations more stressful, in addition to limiting their ability to be themselves and contact their support systems. Over 40% of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 impacted their ability to express their LGBTQ identity, including 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth. One-third of all LGBTQ youth said they were unable to be themselves at home, and nearly one-third of transgender and nonbinary youth felt unsafe in their living situation since the start of COVID-19. One in three Black LGBTQ youth (32%) stated that the COVID-19 pandemic made their living situation “much more stressful” than before. 

A majority of young people, including LGBTQ youth (73%) and straight/cisgender youth (61%), also stated that recent news reports, images, and videos about violence against Black people in the United States have negatively impacted their well-being. However, Black LGBTQ youth reported the highest rate of negative impact (78%) and with more intensity — 44% reported their well-being has been negatively impacted “a lot,” compared to 32% of all LGBTQ youth and 23% of straight/cisgender youth. Support for Black Lives Matter was high among a majority of youth polled (68%), with support for the movement highest among LGBTQ youth (82%) compared to straight/cisgender youth (63%). Regarding feelings toward the police, a majority of LGBTQ youth (71%) deeply distrust the police and only 8% of Black LGBTQ youth “strongly agreed” that the police were in their neighborhood to protect them.

Additional key findings include:

  • A majority of LGBTQ youth reported recent symptoms of anxiety (55%) or depression (53%) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with transgender and nonbinary youth experiencing higher rates of both symptoms of anxiety (66%) and depression (69%) than their peers.
  • For both transgender and nonbinary youth (75%) and Black LGBTQ youth (74%), 3 in 4 indicated feeling more lonely than at the start of COVID-19. 
  • More than one in three LGBTQ youth (35%) are distrusting of their family when it comes to providing health information on COVID-19, compared to one in five straight/cisgender youth (19%).
  • LGBTQ youth were less likely to have access to mental health care than their peers, with one in four LGBTQ youth unable to access the mental health care they desired. And transgender and nonbinary youth were 2x more likely to report they lost access to the mental health care they had prior to COVID-19, compared to straight/cisgender youth (8%).
  • One in five LGBTQ youth (20%) reported being harassed or mistreated by police, compared to just one in seven straight/cisgender youth (14%). Transgender and nonbinary youth (29%) and Black youth — both those who identify as LGBTQ (35%) and those who identify as straight/cisgender (21%) — reported the highest rates of harassment and mistreatment by police.
  • An overwhelming majority of LGBTQ youth (71%) expressed low levels of trust in the police, with percentages of youth who stated they had no trust in the police at all highest among transgender and nonbinary youth (59%) and Black LGBTQ youth (47%). White straight/cisgender youth were the only group where a majority (75%) reported they trust the police.

“This year has been difficult for everyone, but it has been especially challenging for LGBTQ youth, and particularly Black LGBTQ youth, who have found themselves at the crossroads of multiple mounting tragedies,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “Since the onset of COVID-19, the volume of youth reaching out to The Trevor Project’s crisis services programs for support has, at times, doubled our pre-COVID volume. We’ve known that LGBTQ youth have faced unique challenges because of the countless heartbreaking stories we’ve heard on our 24/7 phone lifeline, text, and chat crisis services; but these findings illuminate the existence of alarming mental health disparities that must be addressed through public policy. And it’s abundantly clear that recent acts of racism and anti-Black violence have also had a profoundly negative impact on the mental health of our nation’s young people.” 

The findings are based on a poll that Morning Consult conducted on behalf of The Trevor Project among a national sample of 1,200 young people between the ages of 13–24, including 600 LGBTQ youth and 600 straight/cisgender youth. Included in the sample are 175 Black LGBTQ youth and 196 Black straight/cisgender youth.

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project's TrevorLifeline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7 via chat every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.

MEDIA CONTACT

Rob Todaro
The Trevor Project
212.695.8650 x403
[email protected]