Family Acceptance Crucial for LGBT Youth
By M Cohan
Recent research published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing showed that when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children are accepted by their family, there is a greater chance for a healthy adulthood avoiding issues down the line, such as drug or alcohol abuse. Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University and her team, conducted this study.
Previous to this study, there was no research done on the impact of family acceptance for LGBT youth. Luckily, the California Endowment funded this study, which had very beneficial results. Ryan’s research showed that children who were accepted by their families had higher self-esteem and social support as they got older.
One of the beneficial impacts of this study is that it can prevent negative issues concerning LGBT youth including depression and drug abuse leading to the need for gay and lesbian teen rehab. Often suicide can even be a factor for these isolated teens. Ann P. Haas, Ph.D., Director of Prevention Projects for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention stated, “These findings open the door to a whole new focus on how families can be helped to more fully engage in the kind of behaviors that reduce suicide risk in LGBT adolescents and young adults.”
Dr Ryan and her team are now working on a model of wellness, prevention and care, which will allow families to properly care for their LBGT children. The end results are predicted to lower rates of suicide, depression, drug abuse and even HIV.
Studies show that the rates of drug abuse amongst teens are extremely high. According to statistics, gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are 190% more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs than their heterosexual counterparts. Obviously, these patterns can continue for many, many years if the gay and lesbian teen rehab and recovery process does not intervene.
However, if drug abuse does become a factor with LGBT youth, an intervention leading to gay and lesbian teen rehab can often become tremendously helpful. Drug rehab programs will not only offer counseling in substance abuse, but also in mental health issues. Gay teens will feel far more comfortable and at ease at treatment centers that deal specifically with LGBT patients.
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