In addition to preparing the bird, the gravy, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce for your Thanksgiving Day feast, the fine folks at the Colorado Department of Public Health are encouraging Americans to try adding acceptance to the table.
The Environment’s 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, released earlier this summer, drove home a familiar point, reports Denverite: LGBTQ students are at much higher risk for bullying, mental health issues and substance abuse than their straight and cisgender counterparts.
“Bias, stigma and discrimination can lead to poor health” for LGBTQ students, said Leo Kattari, survey coordinator at Colorado’s health department, in a statement. “But social factors that make young people feel safe and supported can reduce the behaviors that put them at risk every day.”
The survey detailed how most students felt less able or willing to turn to adults for help, but for those with access to support systems, either through parents or guardian or even extracurricular activities, that support made a huge difference. In fact, the results were noticeably improved for those LGBTQ students who did reach out:
- LGBTQ students who have a supportive adult to turn to at school are two to three times less likely to attempt suicide.
- About two times less likely to experience bullying, whether in school or online, than their peers.
- Transgender students enrolled in extracurricular activities are 1.6 times less likely to attempt suicide
- Trans students in those activities were four times less likely to use marijuana regularly.
Mary Malia, executive director of Inside/Out Youth Services, an LGBT youth-serving organization, said in a statement to Denverite: “As trusted adults, we can bolster the health and well-being of LGBT youth by ensuring they have a welcoming place to go, trusted adults to talk to and inclusive activities that allow them to express themselves and have fun.”
Read more about the study and its recommendations from Denverite by clicking here. And if you’re LGBTQ and single and desperate for advice before facing the family and all its questions, click here for some useful advice from Charlotte Five.