In observation of Pride Month, Audacy’s David O'Leary welcomed The Trevor Project communications manager, Nicholas Turton, for an eye-opening discussion surrounding the state of mental health among LGBTQ youth.
LISTEN NOW: Nicholas Turton shares recent data collected by The Trevor Project detailing the state of mental health among LGBTQ youth
The Trevor Project, founded in 1998, provides resources for LGBTQ youth and allies with the larger goal of ending suicide among them. Each year, the foundation surveys a large sample of community members (ages 13-24) to increase their understanding and provide the most useful resources and information.
The Trevor Project’s, Nicholas Turton, joined Audacy’s David O'Leary to share the results of foundation’s 5th annual survey which included responses from 28,000 LGBTW youth community members.
“For the 5th consecutive year, the data we found really underscores that anti-LGBTQ victimization really contributes to the higher of elevated suicide risks reported by LGBTQ young people,” Turton shared.
This dangerous victimization — resulting in 41% of community members seriously considering a suicide attempt in the past year — is present in many ways according to Turton. Some of the most prominent being a lack of access to culturally competent mental health care and a record-breaking year of anti-LGBTQ legislation.
“At The Trevor Project, our advocacy team has been tracking and following really closely the bills and proposals being introduced and, as of right now, we are tracking over 600+anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced in 2023 alone.”
Turton continued on to detail 2023 legislation has particularly targeted transgender and non-binary young people with bills that seek to interfere with many aspects of their life.
“Whether it’s getting access to healthcare, being able to identify as who they are in schools and then even prohibiting access to simple things that we all view as simple luxuries — like being able to access a bathroom.”
He continued, “I think a lot of people assume that young people don’t pay attention to politics, but when they are becoming the wedge issue of the current political climate, they have no other choice in many ways.”
Citing an influx of calls to The Trevor Project’s crisis line with individuals struggling surrounding legislation concerns, Turton says the victimization is clear and the impact it’s taking on the mental health of the queer community is alarming. This leads to another large finding in the survey results — a lack of access to mental health care.
In addition to the findings surrounding legislation, the survey revealed many young people who wanted access to mental health were unable to get it.
“We also found that a lot of young people who wanted access to mental health care are unable to get it,” Turton shared. “So, as an organization this is something we’re really concerned about and continue to work toward addressing.”
Diving deeper into those results, it was logged that 47% of the surveyed population were afraid to talk about their mental health concerns, 48% didn’t want to get permission from their guardians to access mental health care and 40% were afraid they wouldn’t be taken seriously.
While the findings of the 2023 survey were grim, The Trevor Project is focused on hope for the future for the queer community and are encouraging all to make small impacts that can lead to great strides towards progress.
“We all can take a simple step toward building a better, more affirming world for all LGBTQ people,” Turton concluded. “Our research shows — at the Trevor Project — that having at least one accepting adult in the life of an LGBTQ young person can reduce the risk of attempting suicide by up to 40%.”
“My message to anyone listening is, if you have a young person in your life, just be there… listen, offer support and just, be there. That’s such a simple thing to do, but it can have such a profound impact on the young people in our lives.”
Listen to Audacy’s I’m Listening Mental Health Mix and more on the free Audacy app.