Depression And Alcohol Abuse Among LGBT Students

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The 2007 National School Climate surveyed 6,209 LGBT students and found that 86% of those children were being verbally abused and 67% of those same children were also being abused because of the way they expressed their gender (Cianciotto, Cahill 2012). LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The LGB part refers to sexual orientation while the T stands for transgender, which is when one’s gender identify does not conform with the sex assigned to them at birth. The LGBT+ youth is prone to violence, bullying, and hatred due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, those adolescents are in greater risk of negative outcomes such as drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts (Gaell 2008). …show more content…

Their depression can slowly lead to suicidal thoughts and self-harm. The children turn to suicide and self-harm when they struggle with coming out to loved ones, and dealing with rejection. Common forms of self-harm include cutting the skin, misusing drugs and alcohol, and hitting or punching themselves. Several studies have shown low levels of serotonin and dopamine in suicidal patients. Suicidality has three main characteristics that include a sensitivity to particular life events, the sense of being trapped, and most importantly the absence of rescue factors (Van-Heeringen, Marusic 2003). Research shows that the LGBT youth face mental health challenges due to the discrimination that they are faced with at home and at school. From a survey done at a Midwestern county in the U.S., LGBT students who did not experience homophobic teasing reported the lowest levels of depression and suicidal feelings of all the student groups (Hamid-Balma …show more content…

It is crucial for there to be resources and safe spaces for a LGBT+ student. In order to have the adolescents thrive in their communities and schools, the student must feel emotionally, socially, and physically safe. Having a positive school climate and resources available can decrease the chances of substance abuse and decrease depression. Schools can put forth clear policies and procedures to help provide a safe and respectful community in the school. The school can send a clear message to students that no one should be treated differently and bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstance. Setting regulations can be effective, but so can creating safe spaces or clubs for children to become aware of LGBT issues. A research study found that having support groups or clubs at school like the Gay-Straight Alliance, decreased the thought of suicide among LGBT students and helped the students feel accepted (“Finding Support”). Having counselors on campus and support by school staff is also vital and helps the student feel supported and feel as if they have a responsible adult to turn to. It is highly important for the faculty and staff to remember to protect the student’s privacy, and be careful not to discuss issues around being LGBT with parents or anyone else. Although encouraging equality and acceptance in school is important, it is also important for the

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