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Mental Health Triggers That Affect LGBTQ Youth

June 10, 2021

It’s no secret—your teenage years can be tough. Between getting good grades, fitting in at school, entering the dating scene, balancing extracurriculars, and getting their first jobs, today’s youth are under a great deal of pressure. And when you’re on the LGBTQ spectrum, the pressure somehow becomes even greater. In addition to the “typical” challenges that adolescents face, LGBTQ youth experience unique stressors that can negatively impact their mental health.

According to a national survey by The Trevor Project:

  • 68% of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, including more than 3 in 4 transgender and nonbinary youth
  • 55% of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of major depressive disorder, including more than 2 in 3 transgender and nonbinary youth
  • 40% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth

Bullying & Discrimination

The “high school bully” has become a popular trope in TV and movies, but bullying is an unfortunate reality for many LGBTQ adolescents—much more than for straight cisgender youth. CDC data shows that 43% of transgender youth and 29% of gay or lesbian youth have been bullied on school property (compared to 18% of cisgender youth and 17% of straight youth, respectively).

61% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being prevented or discouraged from using a bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, with school being the most frequent place where bathroom discrimination occurs. And 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported being physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Dating Abuse

From first dates to first kisses, entering the dating scene as an adolescent can be both exciting and overwhelming. For LGBTQ youth, who may be exploring their sexuality or coming to terms with their identity, dating can feel a bit more daunting. LGBTQ teens face a higher risk of dating abuse, including physical/emotional abuse and sexual coercion. Transgender youth, in particular, are the most at-risk group.

Political issues

With the prevalence of social media, political talk seems to be more prominent than ever—and teens are listening. But while most teens don’t necessarily have to worry about things like healthcare and marriage equality, these issues directly affect the lives of LGBTQ individuals. In fact, 86% of LGBTQ youth said that recent politics have negatively impacted their well-being.

Puberty & Body Image

For many teens and preteens, puberty can feel like a time of chaos. But for transgender youth, it can lead to intense anxiety, depression and risk of suicide. During this time, your emotions, appearance and internal chemistry are all changing at a rapid pace, which can be very distressing—even traumatic—for someone whose gender identity doesn’t match their assigned sex. Markers of puberty, such as body hair, menstruation and developing breasts, can cause some to feel at odds with their bodies,

When seeking mental health treatment, it’s important to have a culturally sensitive provider who understands the LGBTQ experience. At Crew Health, we’re here for you in more ways than one. Not only do we offer LGBTQ-focused healthcare, but we do so at little to no cost to you—regardless of whether or not you’re insured. To us, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Our team of experts is ready to talk to you no matter the need.


2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, The Trevor Project

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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