Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, ages ten to twenty-four? Compared to heterosexuals, LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate.
And the numbers climb when a teen is transgender. Thirty percent of transgender youth report a history of at least one suicide attempt and nearly 42% report a history of self-injury such as cutting.
As we know, bullying has negative effects. LGBT teens are bullied two or three times more than heterosexuals. Eighty-nine percent of transgender students have been verbally harassed because of sexual orientation and gender expression, according to GLSEN ( Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network).
How Do You Know If Your Teen’s Moodiness is Actual Depression?
Moodiness doesn’t last, last, last. As a parent, you need to know the signs of depression:
· Inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for at least a week.
· Loss of appetite and/or weight loss without trying to do so.
· Feelings of extreme hopelessness and a sense of doom.
· Inability to concentrate on work or family duties.
· Feeling down or sad all the time.
· No longer finding enjoyment in things or activities that you previously enjoyed.
· Thoughts of wishing you were dead and/or actual ideas of wanting to harm yourself.
· Feeling consumed by intense worry or concern that bad things are going to happen to you and your family.
How A Parent Can Alleviate Depression
“The best way you can help your child not to feel rejected is by remaining involved in the details of her or her life and by not avoiding topics that may make you uncomfortable,” according to psychiatrist Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.
Ask your child on a regular basis how he is feeling. If he responds that he is depressed, ask him if he would like to speak to a therapist.
Research has found out that the presence of gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in schools were associated with decreased suicide attempts in a study of LGBTQ youth, ages 13-22. Students who attended schools with GSAs were less likely to attempt suicide (16.9%) as opposed to students whose schools did not have GSAs (33.1%).
Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., founder of The Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State, says LGBT youth “who experience high levels of rejection from their families during adolescence were more than eight times likely to have attempted suicide. Parental acceptance, and even neutrality, with regard to a child’s sexual orientation can bring down attempted suicide rate.”
Sources To Help Your Teen With Depression And/Or Suicide
· The Trevor Project, a 24/7 Crisis Hotline
· It Gets Better Project: Hopeful stories from LGBT community.
· Parents for Lesbians, Gay, and Transgenders
· The Family Acceptance Project
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.