Poll details impact of COVID-19, violence against Black Americans on youth mental health
NEW YORK — The Trevor Project on Monday released a poll conducted by Morning Consult that highlights how the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent violence against Black Americans have affected LGBTQ youth and their mental health.
According to a press release, the poll found that COVID-19 has made many LGBTQ youth’s living situations more stressful, in addition to limiting their ability to be themselves and contact their support systems. Over 40% of LGBTQ youth stated that COVID-19 impacted their ability to express their LGBTQ identity, including 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth. One-third of all LGBTQ youth said they were unable to be themselves at home, and nearly one-third of transgender and nonbinary youth felt unsafe in their living situation since the start of COVID-19. One in three Black LGBTQ youth (32%) stated that the COVID-19 pandemic made their living situation “much more stressful” than before.
A majority of young people, including LGBTQ youth (73%) and straight/cisgender youth (61%), also stated that recent news reports, images, and videos about violence against Black people in the United States have negatively impacted their well-being. However, Black LGBTQ youth reported the highest rate of negative impact (78%) and with more intensity — 44% reported their well-being has been negatively impacted “a lot,” compared to 32% of all LGBTQ youth and 23% of straight/cisgender youth.
Additional key findings include:
- A majority of LGBTQ youth reported recent symptoms of anxiety (55%) or depression (53%) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with transgender and nonbinary youth experiencing higher rates of both symptoms of anxiety (66%) and depression (69%) than their peers.
- For both transgender and nonbinary youth (75%) and Black LGBTQ youth (74%), 3 in 4 indicated feeling more lonely than at the start of COVID-19.
- More than one in three LGBTQ youth (35%) are distrusting of their family when it comes to providing health information on COVID-19, compared to one in five straight/cisgender youth (19%).
- LGBTQ youth were less likely to have access to mental health care than their peers, with one in four LGBTQ youth unable to access the mental health care they desired. And transgender and nonbinary youth were 2x more likely to report they lost access to the mental health care they had prior to COVID-19, compared to straight/cisgender youth (8%).
- One in five LGBTQ youth (20%) reported being harassed or mistreated by police, compared to just one in seven straight/cisgender youth (14%). Transgender and nonbinary youth (29%) and Black youth — both those who identify as LGBTQ (35%) and those who identify as straight/cisgender (21%) — reported the highest rates of harassment and mistreatment by police.
- An overwhelming majority of LGBTQ youth (71%) expressed low levels of trust in the police, with percentages of youth who stated they had no trust in the police at all highest among transgender and nonbinary youth (59%) and Black LGBTQ youth (47%). White straight/cisgender youth were the only group where a majority (75%) reported they trust the police.
“This year has been difficult for everyone, but it has been especially challenging for LGBTQ youth, and particularly Black LGBTQ youth, who have found themselves at the crossroads of multiple mounting tragedies,” said Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “Since the onset of COVID-19, the volume of youth reaching out to The Trevor Project’s crisis services programs for support has, at times, doubled our pre-COVID volume. We’ve known that LGBTQ youth have faced unique challenges because of the countless heartbreaking stories we’ve heard on our 24/7 phone lifeline, text, and chat crisis services; but these findings illuminate the existence of alarming mental health disparities that must be addressed through public policy.”