MOLINE, Ill. — Pride Month is a time for those in the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate who they are. For Moline-based organization Bethany for Children & Families, it's about drawing attention to the mental health needs within their youth population.
"The statistics are pretty bleak," said Community Services Supervisor Wendy Walljasper, "45% of young people who identify as LGBTQ seriously considered suicide last year. And those numbers are not because of being LGBTQ, but because of the oppression and lack of support that kids receive."
The Trevor Project also estimates more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13-24 seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S.
Though support for the LGBTQ+ community is growing, minors are still struggling to receive mental health services, according to Walljasper.
"60% of LGBTQ+ youth did not receive services that wanted services," Walljafper noted. Walljasper said she believes there are a number of reasons for the lack of support.
"That might [be] because their parents were not supportive, or they were worried that if they came out to a therapist, the therapist wouldn't be supportive. But that 60% number is pretty high, if those kids are wanting to get mental health treatment, and they can't," said Walljasper.
Those numbers stay pretty consistent for adult members of LGBTQ+, especially when it comes to older generations.
"We see these similar numbers in adults with as far as depression and anxiety. A lot of older folks had an even harder time coming out than young people do today. So those mental health services are very needed for adults who are LGBTQ as well," Walljasper said.
Bethany for Children & Families offers different mental health resources to fit the needs of the individual. For more information, click/tap here. The Trevor Project also has resources that can be found here.