Stories about: depression among gay teenagers

Season of pride

By S. Bryn Austin, ScD, director of Fellowship Research Training in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital

This past Saturday was Boston’s 42nd annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride parade. As I stood among the jubilant throngs, cheering on the joyfully endless stream of colorful marchers, cyclists, roller skaters and floats, I was struck by how much we have to be proud of here in Massachusetts. And I mean all of us, not just the LGBT community.

Boston Children's Hospital's presence at this year's LGBT Pride parade

In 2004, Massachusetts was the first state to legally recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry. Twenty years ago, we were the first state to establish—by executive order from then-Governor William Weld—Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA), which are vital school-based support groups for teens. Across the state, we have many outstanding community-based organizations providing valuable resources for LGBT youth. And right here at Boston Children’s Hospital, we’re a national leader in health care and research for LGBT youth.

Every milestone achieved on the path toward equality and inclusion is a direct result of the compassion and dedication of our whole community working together, gay and straight, transgender and nontransgender. We can all share in the season of pride.

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Does the medical community do enough to reach out to LGBT youth?

Sexual minority youth are nine times more likely to harbor suicidal thoughts than their counterparts

Adolescence can be a difficult time, even for teenagers who seem extremely well-adjusted. Physical and hormonal changes are hard enough to deal with, but when you add feelings of isolation and loneliness to the mix, it can make the whole process that much worse. Sadly this is reality for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens. But a new study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing shows positive attitudes from family members towards LGBT teens reduces their risk for depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and often results in the formation of healthier relationships in adulthood.

Sounds like good— if not a tad obvious— information for parents of LGBT kids, but as pointed out by Scott Leibowitz, MD, of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Department of Psychiatry, it’s important knowledge for any adult who interacts with kids, not just the parents of openly gay or transgender children.

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