Call to Mind

Queer Youth Resilience & Mental Health

queer youth resilience and mental health.
Call to Mind covers queer youth resilience and mental health.
Call to Mind

Every day, queer teens and young adults are challenged by the politicization of gender identity and sexual orientation and the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.

And the mental health consequences are alarming.

A staggering 41 percent of LGBTQ+ youth 13 through 24 report to have seriously considered suicide, and 14 percent have tried to hurt themselves, according to a new report from The Trevor Project.

Given that LGBTQ+ youth face continued fights around their identity, what are mental health concerns specific to queer youth? And what support is necessary for LGBTQ+ teens and young adults to take care of their well-being amid a national political climate that’s working against them?

MPR News shares a special broadcast from Call to Mind, American Public Media’s initiative to foster conversations about mental health. 

Three licensed mental health professionals with expertise in LGBTQ+ youth mental health joined Call to Mind host Kimberly Adams: Brian Coleman, LCPC; Laura Holt, Ph.D. and Danielle Ramo, Ph.D. 

“If we can agree that we want our students to feel safe, and we can also look at the evidence that LGBTQAI youth are disproportionately impacted by mental health issues–then there is work that has to be done in our schools to make them safer,” Coleman said during the show.

“If trans people are raised in affirming environments, by families who are able to give them the freedom to be themselves, their mental health outcomes are really good,” Holt said.

“The traditional mental health system hasn't served the queer community very well historically, by pathologizing sexuality or diversity and gender identity, and queer young people might have even additional mistrust than their peers,” Ramo said.

We also hear from Steven Rocha, the policy director at PRISM Florida, an organization that aims to expand access to LGBTQ+ inclusive education and sexual health resources for youth in South Florida, and Jordyn Pruitt, a student at Georgia College & State University.

The broadcast special includes experts’ insights on queer youth mental health, new data from the Trevor Project about the consequences of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, stories of families in different parts of the country who face state laws that prevent trans people from accessing gender-affirming care and the voices of young people attending the Miami Beach Pride festival. 

Useful resources

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline  
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential phone & text crisis support. Call or text 988 to get started. 

BeMe Health 
A mobile mental health platform — to improve teen well-being by bringing together the best aspects of digital media, live support, and clinical care. 

Give Us the Floor 
A safe teen-only online community for LGBTQI+ youth to break isolation while providing social contact and anonymity. Trained teen peer counselors facilitate the confidential groups chats. 

An education organization working to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  

A social innovation lab working at the intersection of tech and youth mental health. 

Online guides and resources to support the mental health of LGBTQ+ teens. 

JED Foundation  
A nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults. 

Mental Health America  
Helping all people live mentally healthier lives through advocacy, public education, and service. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)  
The nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by mental illness. 

This Is My Brave 
Enables high school and college aged students to use storytelling to combat stigma around mental health. 

Trevor Project  
The world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQI+ youth. 

Q Chat Space 
An online chat-based discussion groups for LGBTQ+ teens ages 13 to 19.