The novel Coronavirus pandemic forced a third of the global population into lockdown, placing LGBTQ youth at exceptional risk of mental health struggles. Though adolescents and young adults are reported to have the lowest mortality rate from Covid-19, they are not immune to its psychological impacts. Indeed, even before everyone was forced to stay home and maintain social distance, research shows that LGBTQ youth are at elevated risk for depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicidality.
LGBTQ and in Quarantine
Young people struggle more with loneliness than adults due to their acute need for social acceptance and belonging. During a time where we are told to keep physical distance from one another and leave home only when necessary, this vital need for acceptance becomes harder to meet for LGBTQ youth.
In some cases, the family home may not be as supportive a space for LGBTQ youth. Even still, should they be in a very supportive family and household, connection to the LGBTQ community, specifically, plays a crucial role in lowering rates of depression and suicide. At a time when social interaction can only happen from a distance, maintaining this connection is difficult.
Members of the LGBTQ community suffer economically more than most. The Covid-19 pandemic threatens to exacerbate this circumstance by driving up unemployment and prompting housing instability. Both of these circumstances have been linked to increasing depression and suicide among LGBTQ youth.
Fear of the Future
Many young people in the LGBTQ community look to the future with hope, especially in the most trying moments of adolescence. Right now, the future feels less certain, making the present harder to bear. Many youths leave home and their families as a coping mechanism to deal with conflict or maltreatment; likewise, many delay coming out to their families until adulthood. The Covid-19 pandemic may feel as if it is halting the LGBTQ youths’ ability to live and embrace their true selves.
Where to Turn?
If you are an LGBTQ person feeling the extra strain of living in quarantine, please know that there are services available and designed with you in mind. The Trevor Project, for instance, offers a digital peer support community, trained crisis service counselors, and supportive resources for LQBTQ youth. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has, likewise, compiled a resource page specifically for LGBTQ youth struggling with the pandemic.
If the combination of social distancing, quarantine, economic uncertainty, and fear for the future have you worried about your mental health, you are not alone. If your concern is urgent, do not hesitate to request a free phone consultation with a member of our counseling team. We work with people of all ages to address such issues as depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and more. Our office is open to in-person appointments, and we are also offering counseling services remote via Telehealth.