Having a strong support system is an important part of being a happy and mentally healthy person. This can be even more so for LGBTQ+ youth. Research has repeatedly shown that social acceptance from one’s peers and having safe spaces you can go to and feel welcomed, has a huge impact on rates of depression and suicidal ideation amongst LGBTQ+ youth.
If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community or have someone you care for that is, it can make a big difference in your quality of life if you know what you can do to help support them, as well as what resources are available that can provide needed services or safe spaces.
Here are some ways to support LGBTQ+ youth in Alabama:
The Importance of showing Acceptance for LGBTQ+ youth
It has been shown that LGBTQ+ youth are affected by how accepting family and friends are of their identity. In their article on family acceptance, Option B points out that teens that report high levels of rejection from their family were eight times more likely to attempt suicide and six times more likely to report high levels of depression. The article goes on to talk about ways that parents can work on being supportive of their LGBTQ+ children. Also how this can have a positive impact on their mental health.
Acceptance does not mean being perfect in your understanding of LGBTQ+ issues. It can mean that you are trying to improve and putting their well-being above your personal beliefs. A good place to start with this is by asking them what they are experiencing. You may also ask how you can support them. Communication is always one of the most important parts of a relationship.
Other ways to work on this or show support can include: telling them you love them and showing affection, doing your own research on LGBTQ+ issues, and standing up for them when they are harassed or mistreated. Even if you are someone who is uncomfortable with or disagrees with LGBTQ+ identities, it is important to put their mental health first and remember what is at stake if they never feel accepted.
Resources to Support LGBTQ+ Youth in Alabama
Many people may be unfamiliar with what resources are available in this state for LGBTQ+ youth and what they provide. It may come as a surprise how many organizations there are that help with various issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community.
I have had several clients use organizations in the Birmingham area and wanted to highlight two of them here. Magic City Acceptance Center is a great organization that provides many programs for LGBTQ+ youth and safe space they can feel welcomed in. They also provide workshops for families, health services, and education, as well as referrals for LGBTQ+ friendly therapists and doctors.
TAKE Birmingham is a transgender outreach organization that provides several services including life coaching and legal aid, homeless assistance and housing, and a Drop-In Center where you can get clothing and hygiene products as well as a safe space to hang out. I encourage you to do your own research into what resources are out there and to take advantage of them. It can make a huge difference in your, or someone you care about, life.
How Empower Counseling Can Help
At Empower Counseling we work with clients to help them learn to value themselves and see what they are capable of. With LGBTQ+ youth, we provide a safe space for them to vent about what they have been experiencing. We teach them how to process what they are going through. This is so they can have a healthier outlook on their own capabilities and worth. Self-worth is an important topic for LGBTQ+ youth. We help them learn to love themselves and be motivated to take on what life is throwing at them.
Begin Counseling For LGBTQ+ Youth in Alabama
Our team at Empower Counseling knows being a teen can be difficult. You’re dealing with new life transitions and the pressure of becoming your own person. If you need help navigating we are only one step away.
- Contact us to learn about our services
- Meet with one of our caring therapists
- Start therapy for teens to navigate life challenges
Other Mental Health Services at Empower Counseling
Empower Counseling understands you may be dealing with other mental health needs and offers other services so we can better help you. While located in Birmingham, Alabama for in-person counseling services, we also serve the entire state of Alabama with online counseling. Our team specializes in anxiety therapy, depression counseling, counseling for addiction, counseling for professionals, life transition counseling, and life coaching. We also offer teen counseling, young adult counseling, and counseling for college students. Check out our FAQ for more information!