Your gay or lesbian teen may be at risk for depression or even suicide, part 1

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Your gay or lesbian teen may be at risk for depression or even suicide, part 1While the publicity around the “It gets better” campaign has died down, the seriousness of the issue remains. We’ve all heard stories of serious and ongoing bullying that has gone so far as to cause a young person to commit suicide. LGBT teens (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) are often targets of bullying. This harassment causes stress which adds to the acute anxiety and emotional confusion they may feel about their different sexual orientation. They may feel that they never will be accepted for who they are and that they will never fit in despite infrequent messages from the broader culture that they are accepted, valued persons.

So, it’s not difficult to see why depression and suicide have become a serious problem for this group. In fact, suicide attempts are up to four times more common among LGBT teens. Since approximately 70% of eventual suicide victims give some clue as to their intent to commit suicide, recognizing and understanding the signs can help save lives.

Signs of Depression:

  • Changes in feelings: an increase of guilt, worry, anger, helplessness, and self-blame or self-hatred
  • Apathy: loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Withdrawal: self isolation or withdrawal from family and friends
  • Truancy: absence from school without your knowledge
  • Behavioural changes: sleeping and eating changes, or a growing disregard for appearance or wellbeing
  • Drug or heavy alcohol use: using drugs and/or alcohol to numb or avoid their feelings.

How you can help:

  • Express your support for your teen and your willingness to help them overcome challenges
  • Help your teen look for resources. Websites like PFLAG can help
  • Encourage your teen to talk about his or her concerns to an adult they can trust
  • Normalize their feelings
  • Do not judge them

For more tips and resources visit us at workhealthlife.com
Find support for your child with our Children’s Support Solutions

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