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Mental Health Awareness Month: Supporting LGBTQIA+ Kids’ Mental Health

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Previous studies have shown alarming statistics about the mental health of LGBTQIA+ youth, with 67% reporting symptoms of anxiety and 54% reporting symptoms of depression. These statistics highlight how important it is to learn how to better support youth’s mental health. 

With Mental Health Awareness Month currently underway, Forbes Health’s managing editor, Sarah Davis, has shared five expert-backed tips to help support the mental health of LGBTQIA+ youth. 

1. Take the time to educate yourself 

Sarah Davis said: “You can actively support LGBTQIA+ youth by taking the time to learn more about the obstacles and issues they may face. 

“There are many easily accessible resources out there for people to educate themselves on these obstacles. Psychiatrists have recommended a few resources, including:

2. Don’t treat them differently

Davis says, “According to psychiatrists, children just want to feel like everyone else and a great way to show support for LGBTQIA+ youth is by treating them the same way you would treat other kids. Experts recommend showing your interest in the same things they’re interested in and building their confidence in things they’re good at.”

3. Provide LGBTQ+ representation

Davis adds, “Another tip is to take the initiative to show children the representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in media or books, as this will help them feel represented and seen. Resources to find books and media with LGBTQIA+ representation include Read Brightly and OK2bME.”

4. Advocate when necessary

“Kids who identify at LGBTQIA+ are at a greater risk of being bullied, so experts encourage parents to ensure they advocate for their child. This could be in the form of a parent helping their child file a complaint for bullying. 

“However, before embarking on this, experts recommend that the parent take the time to develop a plan of action with their child, as some children may be scared that speaking up will make the bullying worse,” says Davis. 

5. Seek out supportive health care providers

“There are simple ways a parent of an LGBTQ+ kid can find physical and mental health providers who will be affirming of their child. Health experts recommend looking for mental health providers who use affirming language on their website. For physical health providers, GLMA offers a helpful database of providers. Forbes Health also has an in-depth guide on the best online therapy for the LGBTQIA+ community.”

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