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Survey reveals LGBTQ youth in South have higher rates of suicide than any other region

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Posted at 7:12 PM, Jan 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-15 19:12:26-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The LGBT Life Center in Hampton Roads offers a variety of services to help youth with mental health and counseling.

The numbers are alarming.

LGBTQ youth suicide is on the rise especially in the south that according to a newly released report that surveyed more than 20,000 people ages 13-24.

Anxiety and depression among LGBTQ youth also are at a high.

"I have always felt like I was different from a very young age," said V Pritchard.

V, a 17-year-old Virginia Beach resident identifies as trans and non-binary.

"I don't think people understand how isolated you feel even with people like you," said V.

For years they struggled to find a purpose.

"I have always had depression it got way worse during COVID to the point where suicide and those thoughts occurred," said V.

V is not alone according to the new Trevor Project survey just released.

The Trevor project is a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ plus youth offering crisis counseling.

"The survey is a wonderful tool to understand what's happening with young people LGBTQ youth," said Casey Butler with the LGBT Life Center in Hampton Roads.

"72 percent of LGBT youth report symptoms of generalized anxiety, and 62 percent major depressive disorder in past 2 weeks," said Butler.

"One of the most concerning is 42 percent of LGBT youth attempted to suicide in last 12 months."

The highest rate of suicide among LGBT youth is in the South said Butler, who believes the pandemic and other stressors played a role.

"A lot of youth were remotely learning during a pandemic and perhaps felt affirmed in the school environment but not at home, or vice versa," said Butler.

Forty-six percent of Southern queer youth called their community unaccepting of them. They also reported lower rates of access to affirming home, school, and workplace.

Politics also played a role says Butler, and support services not being accessible during the pandemic.

"In the past year half of LGBT youth wanted counseling but didn’t receive it, that makes my heart sad we can benefit from counseling," said Butler.

For V, luckily they were able to.

"It saved my life, I don’t say it lately I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t go through therapy wouldn’t be here," said V.