Leading mental health care advocates are urging LGBTQ Texans struggling with depression and social isolation to take part in local Pride events this month to connect and engage with others.
With dozens of celebrations scheduled throughout the state in June, counselors encourage engaging in local events and political activism to help alleviate anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, misuse of substances, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide.
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, one of the leading researchers and policy advisors on mental health in the state, reported that LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity exhibited lower rates of attempting suicide.
Based on research, advocates point to the importance of Pride events and the important opportunities for connection, support, and belonging they provide in communities.
“The Hogg Foundation vows to continue the fight for the mental health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community in Texas and beyond,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Executive Director of the Hogg Foundation.
“We will continue to testify on the life-saving effects of gender-affirming care. We will continue to speak to the detrimental harms of any policies that target LGBTQ+ individuals and families. … By uncomfortably confronting homophobia, transphobia, and systemic bigotry, we can finally acknowledge the hurt our society has caused, and help our LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbors heal. To the LGBTQ+ Community, we don’t just celebrate Pride Month with you, we celebrate you.”
Amid a slew of anti-LGBTQ legislation introduced by state legislatures in the past year, the Trevor Project reported that 45% of LGBTQ youth in the US seriously considered attempting suicide last year.
Just this week, State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R – Mineola) announced that he will introduce legislation to ban minors from attending drag shows in the state.
Texas passed a ban last year preventing transgender students from participating in school sports while a court ordered injunction to stop state investigations into families and care providers engaged in gender-affirming care was partially lifted last week by the Texas Supreme Court.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has now reinitiated its investigations into several families. This despite decades of peer-reviewed scientific research and best practices guidance from medical associations that advocate the benefits of treatment for gender dysphoria.
Health advocates say the stigma, discrimination, and other sources of sexual and gender minority stress can take a toll on LGBTQ community members’ mental health and well-being so it is important to make connections where one feels included and accepted.
The Trevor Project offers an online community of LGBTQ young people to connect with resources, peers, and support from a global network of 400,000 members. Both the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and Mental Health America have provided a collection of care and community resources this month for LGBTQ individuals to utilize.