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Facts and Statistics

Mental illness affects all communities, including the lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) community. LGBTQ+ individuals are three times as likely to experience a mental health disorder in comparison to individuals that identify as straight.1 Approximately 40 percent of LGBTQ+ adults had a mental illness in the past year, in comparison to the 18 percent of total adults who faced a mental illness in the past year.2 LGBTQ+ individuals also are more likely to abuse substances at an estimated percentage of 20-30% due to factors such as prejudice and discrimination, in comparison to the 9% substance abuse of the general population.3 

LGBTQ+ Youth

The adolescent period is critical for mental health as many disorders often present themselves during this period. LGBTQ youth are particularly at risk for mental health disorders because they face many adversities, including bullying, difficulty coming out to friends and family members, hate crimes, lack of support, and fear of stigma and discrimination.4 

LGBTQ+ teens are six times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than their heterosexual counterparts. LGBTQ+ youth are also four times more likely to attempt suicide, have suicidal ideations or self-harm than straight youth. LGBTQ+ youth who come from highly rejecting families are over eight times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBTQ+ peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.5

Choosing A Provider

It's important to find a provider that you both feel comfortable with and that will understand the connection between your sexual orientation and your mental health. When choosing a provider, it would be beneficial to reach out prior to an appointment to ensure that he or she is knowledgeable about the experiences and cultural factors experienced by LGBTQ+ individuals who are facing mental health disorders, and to make sure that the provider is LGBTQ-inclusive.6 

ADAA Resources

Additional Resources 

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1. LGBTQ, NAMI

2. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT), SAMSHA, 2017

3. LGBTQ, NAMI

4. Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth, NCBI, 2016

5. Preventing Suicide Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning Youth: 2016 Policy Priorities, The Trevor Project, 2016

6. LGBTQ, NAMI

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