Yes, it gets better. But research by clinical psychologist Brian Mustanski shows love and support from family can help in the meantime.
LGBT or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender kids are at least twice as likely to attempt to take their own lives as their heterosexual peers.
The good news is that research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine offers a powerful and simple enough intervention: love. According to this groundbreaking longitudinal study on self-harm and suicide ideation, social support from family and friends protects gay children the most from thoughts of suicide.
- The Trevor Project
- Safe Schools Coalition
- Gay Straight Alliance Network
- IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program
- The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
- PFLAG: Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays
This week on Professional Help, Brian Mustanski, that study's lead author and a psychologist at Northwestern University, shares five ways parents can show that they care and shield their gay children from suicide in the process.
Family acceptance is crucial. It's impossible to predict who will grow up to be LGBT, so it's important to demonstrate an acceptance of all sexual orientations in front of your children from a young age. If your child does come out to you remember that he's sharing a core part of his identity, so react with acceptance, not judgment. This lets him know that your love is unconditional and that you're available for support as he faces the trials of growing up as a minority. An example of an accepting response is, "You are still the same child as you were before you told me, and I love you just as much."