Engaging young people in advocacy, education & prevention
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Reaching out to LGBT youth in Ventura County

November 21, 2015 12:47 pm Published by Comments Off on Reaching out to LGBT youth in Ventura County

Promising progress is occurring in Ventura County as the LGBT community and its allies are joining together to consolidate and provide resources, and to reach out and support LGBT youth and young adults in the area.

A recent consortium of youth and resource providers, led by Ventura County Behavioral Health, brought inside to needs of youth all over the County, particularly when addressing the trans community, which has issues and challenges specific to them.

In November 2015, Ventura County’s Diversity Collective presented an event to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance, which included a screening of Valentine Road (a documentary about the murder of gay/transgender teen Larry/Latisha King in Ventura County), speakers, and a candlelight vigil.

Statistics show that LGBT youth are more likely to experience depression, ideate/attempt/commit suicide, and abuse alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.

From Youth.gov:

LGBT youth are typically well adjusted and mentally healthy. However, they experience higher rates of mental health challenges and increased health complications arising from these challenges compared to their heterosexual peers. Some recent nonrandom surveys of self-identified transgender people indicate that up to one-third reported attempting suicide at least once, with higher rates for youth and young adults than for older adults. Moreover, suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24, and LGBT youth are more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. These higher rates may be due to bias, discrimination, family rejection, and other stressors associated with how they are treated because of their sexual identity or gender identity/expression. Recent population-based studies suggest that the reported rates of suicide attempts for high school students who identify as LGBT are two to seven times higher than rates among high school students who describe themselves as heterosexual.

LGBT youth may be more likely to use substances to cope with bias and stress and may be more likely to experience increased rates of depression and anxiety than their non-LGBT peers. An analysis of more than 18 studies between 1994 and 2006 examining the use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth had higher rates of usage for all these substances than their heterosexual peers.

Reducing the rates of bias, discrimination, and victimization that LGBT youth experience can help reduce substance use.

Tobacco use is also an issue. Smoking prevalence for the LGBT population (30.4%) is about double that of the general population (15.4%). More than 1 in 4 lesbian, gay, or bisexual adults smokes cigarettes compared with roughly 1 in 6 heterosexual/straight adults.


Ventura County info and resources for the LGBTQ community

Alcohol and drug use in the LGBT community – information and resources

Tobacco use in the LGBT community – information and resources