Transgender Youth & Mental Health
A recent study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that transgender youth are more at risk for mental illness, including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and attempts, and self-harm than their non-transgender peers. The study was led by Sari L. Reisner, a research scientist at The Fenway Institute.
Dr. Reisner examined data on 180 transgender patients’ ages 12-29 years, comparing them to non-transgender patients who were seen at the Boston’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center. Compared with non-transgender peers, transgender youth were found to have an elevated risk of being diagnosed with depression (50.6% vs. 20.6%); suffer from anxiety (26.7% vs. 10%); had attempted suicide (17.2% vs. 6.1%); and had engaged in self-harming activities without lethal intent (16.7% vs. 4.4%).
The study’s findings support what teen mental health professionals have long asserted:
Transgender teens are at risk for serious mental health issues.
WHY TRANSGENDER TEENS NEED COMPETENT MENTAL HEALTH CARE
The study shows the deep need for gender-affirming mental health services and interventions to support transgender youth, Reisner wrote. The study, coupled with recent headlines of teenage and pre-teen transgender suicides are pushing the issues of transgender mental health care to the forefront. If your child or guardian is transgender, it is critical that they have the right support system in place as they make their transition. This includes not only support and understanding from family and friends, but the proper mental health support to deal with any issues that may arise during the transition. The most important thing parents can do to help their transgender teen is to listen, love, and support them – and also stay aware or any struggles they may be having finding acceptance among their peers. Being a teenager can be hard enough as it is – and being transgender can magnify normal teenage issues such as feeling isolated, misunderstood or out of place. Many transgender teens struggle with depression and anxiety and they can be a target of cruel comments and bullying by uneducated peers. Staying on top of issues as they arise is critical for parents of transgender children and teens.
HELP IN THE TRANSITIONING PROCESS
Transitioning genders can be a long journey and involves a lot of work for both the child and parents. This includes social transitioning (changing name, pronoun, style of dress, etc.) as well as medical transitioning (puberty blockers, hormones, surgery, etc.). Transgender teens need friends and family to support them through the transitioning process – and most could benefit from the help of professionals with experience treating transgender individuals. A comprehensive support plan for a transgender teen should include:
– Medical support from experts who have experience with transgender youth.
– Mental health support from experts who have experience with transgender youth.
– Support groups or group therapy for both parents and teens. Groups are a great way to share feelings, information and in allowing teens and parents to feel less alone.
– Family support from parents, siblings, extended family and friends.
– Support from school officials to ensure your child’s safety.
TRANSGENDER ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT: LOS ANGELES
If you have a transgender teen or pre-teen who suffers from gender dysphoria, seek treatment from Polaris Teen Center. Our experts have lots of experience working with transgender teens. We can help them navigate the often difficult transition process, as well as assist with any mental health issues.
THE RIGHT HELP FOR TRANSGENDER TEENS
If you are seeking help for your child who is questioning their gender identity, please contact the admissions staff at our residential teen treatment center.
Polaris provides comprehensive care to teens suffering from a variety of mental health and secondary substance abuse disorders.
To learn more about our youth programs, or to schedule a tour, visit our website or confidentially contact our admission staff below.
Changes made now can last a lifetime. Get the help your loved one deserves – call today.