A majority of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression amid the pandemic, according to poll released Friday by Morning Consult and The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization.
The poll surveyed 1,200 people across the U.S. between the ages of 13–24 in late July, including 600 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth and 600 non-LGBTQ youth.
Stay-at-home orders have led to some LGBTQ youth being stuck inside in unsupportive households, which could lead to adverse mental health affects, as well as limited opportunities to get needed care, according to the survey. Nearly 1 in 4 LGBTQ youth who responded said they were unable to access mental health care because of the pandemic.
Three-fourths of LGBTQ respondents said they were suffering from increased loneliness since the pandemic began, with 55 percent reporting symptoms of anxiety and 53 percent reporting symptoms of depression in the two weeks preceding the poll. The survey found non-LGBTQ respondents were 1.75 times more likely than LGBTQ youth and 2.4 times more likely than trans and nonbinary youth to exhibit no signs of either anxiety or depression.
Over one-third of LGBTQ youth surveyed said they were unable to be themselves at home, and nearly one-third of transgender and nonbinary youth reported feeling unsafe in their living situation since the start of the pandemic.
“This year has been difficult for everyone, but it has been especially challenging for LGBTQ youth, and particularly Black LGBTQ youth, who have found themselves at the crossroads of multiple mounting tragedies,” Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, said in a statement.
Paley said that since the onset of the pandemic, the volume of youth reaching out to his organization’s crisis services programs has, at times, been double its pre-Covid-19 volume.
“We’ve known that LGBTQ youth have faced unique challenges because of the countless heartbreaking stories we’ve heard on our 24/7 phone lifeline, text, and chat crisis services; but these findings illuminate the existence of alarming mental health disparities that must be addressed through public policy,” he stated.
Compounding the negative effects of stay-at-home orders related to the public health crisis are the ongoing news reports and social media videos of violence against Black Americans and reports of police violence against people of color.
A majority of LGBTQ youth said the ongoing unrest had negatively affected their well being, with 78 percent of Black LGBTQ youth saying they had been negatively affected. Of that, 44 percent of Black LGBTQ youth said their well being had been negatively affected “a lot.”
Only 8 percent of Black LGBTQ youth said police in their neighborhood were there to protect them, which reflected a larger trend of 71 percent of LGBTQ youth in total reporting that they deeply distrust the police.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
If you are an LGBTQ young person in crisis, feeling suicidal or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call TrevorLifeline now at 1-866-488-7386.