Updated: Jul 12
Are you interested in learning more about how to support the mental health of LGBTQIA youth? We can help!
We would like to highlight some steps schools and families can take to better support LGBTQIA youth in our communities.
There are many ways that schools and families can support LGBTQIA youth.
What Schools Can Do
Post safe space signs on classroom doors
Offer LGBTQ+ school organizations to support students, promote awareness, and create a more inclusive school environment
Invite students to share pronouns (but do not force this, says Sandra Schmidt, of Columbia University)
Have a diverse curriculum that includes relevant LGBTQ+ figures in history, science, art, or other subjects
Oren Pizmoney-Levy, a professor at Columbia University, states, “Our research shows that students who see themselves in the curriculum are more likely to feel that they belong to the school community and that belonging keeps them in school.”
"When assigning topics for science, history, and art, be sure to include LGBTQ people like Harvey Milk (politician) or Alan Turing (computer scientist)," writes teacher Nancy Barile in the article "5 Things You Can Do To Support Your LGBTQ Students."
What Families Can Do
Parents and family members can take the time to educate themselves and learn about LGBTQ+ topics and issues. Additionally, find LGBTQ+ characters in books, movies, TV shows, or other representations.
Encourage kids to talk openly about sexuality. This dialogue can be prompted by friends or even TV characters who they may relate to. Listen to children without shame or judgement.
When it is needed, advocate for children who face problems such as bullying or discrimination in schools. This is especially important because LGBTQ+ students have higher risks of being bullied than other students.
Finally, treat LGBTQ+ kids the same as their peers.
Click here for more information about supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth.
The CDC reports that LGBTQ+ youth face higher risks of mental health problems, violence, and HIV than their peers. Furthermore, LGBTQ+ students often face stigma, which can affect their mental health. Such students also report having poor mental health more often than non-LGBTQ+ students.
Check out these LGBTQ+ resources for local and national organizations that support youth and families.