SEATTLE — The pandemic is hitting LGBTQ+ youth especially hard as they deal with the stressors they had before COVID-19, and now the impacts of the virus.
The pandemic has caused a lot of LGBTQ+ youth to lose contact with their support groups as many centers and nonprofits were closed down at one point or are operating during limited hours.
"Those spaces are not available," said Brie Chang, a body and mind therapist.
Chang owns a private practice called "Spectrum Mind and Body Works" in Seattle where she works with a lot of LGBTQ+ clients. "With the way space works, it's very important that individuals of any kind of community historically repressed, has access to space where they can congregate," she said.
The need for mental health resources has skyrocketed for LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ communities alike.
Many are dealing with the loss of family members or friends due to COVID-19, unemployment, depression and suicide.
However, LGBTQ+ youth were already at a higher risk for depression, substance abuse and thoughts of suicide before the pandemic.
"With all the elevated stressors, the risk for suicide, at least suicidal thoughts increases," said Chang. "I've had a number of clients that I've had to help with putting together safety plans and checking in regularly through text messaging."
According to the Trevor Project LGBTQ+ youth are three times as likely to attempt suicide.
That's why it is important to know the warning signs and know how to offer support.
"Therapy is not the only option to get support. Community support and support from friends and family are very, very valuable," said Chang.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or you can reach the TrevorLifeline at 1 (866) 488-7386.