Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow Cameron McConkey has authored a new article for Generocity discussing the complex concerns that COVID-19 poses for LGBTQ+ students already facing significant mental health challenges.
For many local high school students, life before the COVID-19 pandemic was already challenging, especially when it came to serious mental health issues, including worrying rates of suicidal ideation and crisis.
According to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) — a national assessment of health behaviors administered every two years by the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) to a random sample of high school students — the number of student respondents who had seriously considered (22%), planned (17%), and attempted (15%) suicide reached unprecedented highs during the 2018-19 school year.
For lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) high school students, these rates were particularly striking.
On average, LGB high school students in Philadelphia reported being three times more likely than their heterosexual peers to seriously consider, plan, attempt, and be treated for suicide. Nearly 50% of all LGB survey respondents seriously considered suicide during the 2018-19 school year, a 17% jump since the survey was last conducted in spring 2017, and more than 25% of all LGB survey respondents attempted suicide at least once in the 12 months prior.