Feb 24, 2022 Arlington, VA — Following recent discriminatory actions at the state level that would harm LGBTQI youth mental health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today released the following statement from its CEO, Daniel H. Gillison Jr.:
“NAMI strongly opposes any policy or legislation that limits or denies access to medical or mental health care or education based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Our Alliance is all too aware of the additional barriers LGBTQI individuals already face when accessing mental health care. And while there’s a higher prevalence of mental health conditions among LGBTQI youth and adults, only half received the mental health treatment they needed.
“That is why this latest trend of state policymakers working to impose harmful policies targeted at LGBTQI youth — including restricting discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools and limiting access to gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth — is so worrying. These actions will undoubtedly increase discrimination against LGBTQI youth and restrict access to needed support and medical treatments, directly posing a risk to their mental health.”
Anti-LGBTQI policies and attitudes have a documented negative impact on mental health. The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 42% of LGBTQI youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
“NAMI envisions a world where all people affected by mental health conditions live healthy, fulfilling lives supported by a community that cares,” Gillison said. “To LGBTQI youth and adults across the country during this challenging and overwhelming time, please always know that NAMI is here to support you. You are seen. You are loved. You are not alone.”
The NAMI Board of Directors Resolution Against LGBTQ Discrimination can be found here. More information about LGBTQI mental health can be found at https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/LGBTQI.