Despite the growing number of resources available for LGBT kids, both online and in real life, there's still a fair amount of unaddressed homophobia and bullying in schools. Now, a study from London is claiming that an entire generation of out young people could be potentially facing a "mental health crisis."
According to a 7,000-person study done by Youth Chances, an English organization dedicated to helping LGBT youth, half of all young people who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans have reportedly self-harmed. Furthermore, 42 percent have sought help for depression or anxiety.
In a statement to The Independent, Dr Greg Ussher — the chief executive of Youth Chances' parent organization, Metro — said, "[W]e are failing LGBTQ [Q refers to people questioning their sexuality] young people. The clear message is that they are badly served. What they want most is emotional support and they are not getting it."
Ussher said that inaction from schools and families could lead to increased levels of bullying, potentially resulting in disproportionate levels of mental health issues and self-harm. Ussher warned that society needs to acknowledge the problem of bullying and said that "[s]chools have a key role to play in providing inclusive environments for all young people with zero tolerance of bullying and discrimination and by eliminating the fear of it through education and support."
The unfortunate thing is that there's always going to be bullying, there's always going to be homophobia, and there's always going to be a vocal, outlier minority of people committed to their bigotry. Kids who are growing up LGBT or questioning need to know that they have support and that they're going to be fine in the long run. But they also need to know how to process negativity in a way that's healthy to them, because it is going to be a reality in their lives. I know I harp on this a lot, but talk to your kids as honestly as you can about bullying and negativity now, before it becomes a problem they have no control over.