In 29 states and DC, most high schools facilitate access to mental health providers with experience treating LGBTQ youth

Publication Date:

August 01, 2019

According to the most recently available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50 percent of secondary schools in 29 states and the District of Columbia facilitated access for students to off-campus social and psychological service providers with experience treating LGBTQ youth. In 19 states, less than half of secondary schools reported facilitating such services. Kansas had the lowest percentage of secondary schools facilitating these services for LGBTQ students (35.9 percent), while Massachusetts had the highest percentage (78.7). Data are not available for Colorado and Iowa.

In 29 states and DC, most secondary schools facilitate access to off-campus social and psychological service providers with experience treating LGBTQ youth

Nationally representative data suggest that about half of Americans will experience a mental health challenge at some point in their lives, with onset of most of these challenges beginning in childhood/adolescence. Of particular concern are recent upticks in the percentage of youth who report symptoms of depression or thoughts of suicide. Data from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) demonstrate that—driven largely by experiences of stigma and discrimination related to LGBTQ youth’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity—their risk of suicide can be as much as five times higher than among their straight, cisgender peers. Approximately half of females who identify as lesbian or bisexual reported seriously considering a suicide attempt in the past 12 months, compared to 16.9 percent of their straight, cisgender peers. A similar, though less dramatic, pattern holds for males: 42.5 percent of males who identify as bisexual and 30.3 percent who identify as gay reported seriously considering a suicide attempt, compared to 10.2 percent of their straight, cisgender peers. Data from 10 states and nine large urban districts that piloted a question about transgender identity found that 43.9 percent of trans students reported seriously considering a suicide attempt in the past 12 months.