Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health and ways to prevent suicidal feelings

By: Denise Young. ED.S

I have been busy trying to spread the word about mental health and suicide all this week. And today I wanted to take the time to talk about the LGBT community and suicide. There are so many individuals that are killing themselves and family members not getting any closure about why and could I prevented this action from happening.
I am a straight women, and never could understand how a person is feeling in LGBT community ,but I believe that we are all God's children and deserve to live so I am doing this post to bring awareness.

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are happy and thrive during their adolescent years. Going to a school that creates a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and having caring and accepting parents are especially important. This helps all youth achieve good grades and maintain good mental and physical health. However, some LGBT youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience difficulties in their lives and school environments, such as violence.

Negative attitudes toward gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people put LGBT youth at increased risk for experiences with violence, compared with other students [1]. Violence can include behaviors such as bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviors.
How CDC Promotes Health Safety Among Youth – Read LGBTQ Youth Programs-At-A-Glance
A 2009 survey* of more than 7,000 LGBT middle and high school students aged 13–21 years found that in the past year, because of their sexual orientation—
  • Eight of ten students had been verbally harassed at school;
  • Four of ten had been physically harassed at school;
  • Six of ten felt unsafe at school; and
  • One of five had been the victim of a physical assault at school

LGBT youth are also at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide. A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers [3]. More studies are needed to better understand the risks for suicide among transgender youth.
Another survey of more than 7,000 seventh- and eighth-grade students from a large Midwestern county examined the effects of school climate and homophobic bullying on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) youth and found that
  • LGBQ youth were more likely than heterosexual youth to report high levels of bullying and substance use;
  • Students who were questioning their sexual orientation reported more bullying, homophobic victimization, unexcused absences from school, drug use, feelings of depression, and suicidal behaviors than either heterosexual or LGB students;
  • LGB students who did not experience homophobic teasing reported the lowest levels of depression and suicidal feelings of all student groups (heterosexual, LGB, and questioning students); and
  • All students, regardless of sexual orientation, reported the lowest levels of depression, suicidal feelings, alcohol and marijuana use, and unexcused absences from school when they were
    • In a positive school climate and
    • Not experiencing homophobic teasing
    •  
Exposure to violence can have negative effects on the education and health of LGBT youth. In a national study of middle and high school students, LGBT students (61.1%) were more likely than their non-LGBT peers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable as a result of their sexual orientation. LGBT students (over 25%) reported missing classes or days of school because of feeling unsafe in their school environment [2].Overall, the stresses experienced by LGBT youth also put them at greater risk for mental health problems, substance use, and physical health problems .

What Schools Can Do

For youth to thrive in their schools and communities, they need to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported. A positive school climate has been associated with decreased depression, suicidal feelings, substance use, and unexcused school absences among LBGT students [5,6].
School personnel, leaders of community organizations, parents, and youth have a role to play in building positive, supportive, and healthy environments for youth. Such environments promote acceptance and respect and help youth feel valued [7]. Schools can assist by implementing clear policies, procedures, and activities designed to prevent violence. For example, a study, found that, in schools with LGB support groups (such as gay-straight alliances), LGB students were less likely to experience threats of violence, miss school because they felt unsafe, or attempt suicide than those students in schools without LGB support groups [8].
To help promote health and safety among LGBTQ youth, schools can implement the following policies and practices:
  • Encourage respect for all students and prohibit bullying, harassment, and violence against all students.
  • Identify “safe spaces,” such as counselors’ offices, designated classrooms, or student organizations, where LGBTQ youth can receive support from administrators, teachers, or other school staff.
  • Encourage student-led and student-organized school clubs that promote a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment (e.g., gay-straight alliances, which are school clubs open to youth of all sexual orientations).
  • Ensure that health curricula or educational materials include HIV, other STD, or pregnancy prevention information that is relevant to LGBTQ youth; such as, ensuring that curricula or materials use inclusive language or terminology.
  • Encourage school district and school staff to develop and publicize trainings on how to create safe and supportive school environments for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and encourage staff to attend these trainings.
  • Facilitate access to community-based providers who have experience providing health services, including HIV/STD testing and counseling, to LGBTQ youth.
  • Facilitate access to community-based providers who have experience in providing social and psychological services to LGBTQ youth.
I hope this will help bring awareness and understanding to help all youth and all people now matter beliefs, genders and social background. If you have any questions or want to contact me please email me at Deniseyounglifeskillscoach@gmail.com or hit me twitter at Deniselmedia.
Thanks for the support.

Disclaimer: I am for loving and treating everyone the same and giving out information for all people no matter what my personal views are is my main goal.

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