TREVOR PROJECT: 'LGBTQ YOUTH W/MILITARY PARENTS AT HIGHER RISK OF SUICIDE'
By Buddy Blouin
LGBTQ youth in America account for more than an estimated 3 million people in America. To put things simply, they're up against it. From lingering societal taboos to downright bigotry, LGBTQ youth deal with issues of acceptance, bullying, and hate crimes. Sometimes even from their own families. Of the 3 million+ LGBTQ youth in America, 5% of them have parents in the military. Unfortunately, according to a report from The Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth with a parent in the military are more likely to deal with mental health challenges and are at a significantly higher risk of suicide.
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What Is The Trevor Project?The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization focusing on suicide prevention efforts for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. It has various services, including its toll-free telephone number (
1 (866) 488-7386) known as The Trevor Lifeline, which provides trained counselors confidentially. Overall, The Trevor Project works to provide LGBTQ youth with resources for crisis intervention and suicide prevention, provide help to parents, and assist educators with resources for inclusive settings for these youth at home and school.
LGBTQ Youth in Military Households Are at RiskThe damning report by The Trevor Project shows the unfortunate reality for LGBTQ youth in military homes. Some of these issues may simply be caused by the added stress that comes with having a member of your family in the military combined with the additional challenges faced by their demographic Additionally, the frequent moving that comes with being in the military can also be a stress factor. This is evident in that even LGBTQ youth in military families without deployment still showed above-average mental health risks. LGBTQ youth under the age of 18 were more likely to have a parent currently serving in the military (7%) compared to LGBTQ youth between the ages of 18 and 24 (4%). Regionally, LGBTQ youth living in the South were more likely to have a parent in the military (7%) versus other parts of the country, such as the Northeast (4%), Midwest (4%), and West (5%). LGBTQ youth who are Native or Indigenous (9%), Black (8%), or multiracial (8%) account for the highest rates of having a parent serving in the military. The Trevor Project report shows that there's a 17% higher chance for anxiety symptoms, 14% higher odds of seriously contemplating suicide within the last year, and around 40% higher odds for LGBTQ youth to commit suicide within the last year for those with a family member in the military. Among LGBTQ youth under age 18, The Trevor Project reports that having a family member in the military can result in 34% higher chances of anxiety, almost 20% higher odds of recent depression issues, 17% higher odds of thinking about suicide, and 36% higher odds of attempting suicide within the last year. Attempted suicide rates in the last year for LGBTQ youth with a parent in the military for ages 18 to 24 were 45% higher and were not significantly associated with anxiety, depression, or considering suicide in the past year.
The Trevor Project Explains How To Support LGBTQ YouthIt’s important to find these trends to help LGBTQ youth regardless of their family’s ties to the military or not. Still, it’s clear to see that LGBTQ youth connected to the military through their families have additional hurdles to clear. Interestingly enough, The Trevor Project showcased plenty of data that showed that LGBTQ youth with a parent currently in the military who received support from their family had fewer mental health issues and a smaller risk of suicide. The family support levels of LGBTQ youth with a military parent were similar (22%), compared to LGBTQ youth without such support (23%). The odds of recent anxiety symptoms were reduced by nearly 40% among LGBTQ youth with a parent in the military experiencing high levels of support. The odds of recent depression symptoms were reduced by 56%, and the odds of considering suicide in the past year were reduced by 46% for those with a strong support system. The Friends & Family Support Systems for LGBTQ Youth is a series of resources and advice for families looking for ways to support their children. Everything from suicide prevention to real-life scenarios are discussed, and it’s a great place to get advice and resources for your family. The Trevor Project continues to help everyone from cis-straight individuals looking to learn how to be better allies to LGBTQ homeless youth struggling to survive. They are one of the many LGBTQ youth organizations shining a light on the issues faced within the community, this time, shining a light on the added stress and problems hidden in military households. The call of duty to defend life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should never end at home, but it’s a great place to start. Together, we can use reports such as this one from The Trevor Project to help make the United States a better place for LGBTQ youth and the community at large.
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