Mental Health Concerns Among Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth


Transgender and gender non-conforming youth, also known as TGNC youth, face unique challenges when it comes to mental health. TGNC youth experience high rates of mental health concerns, mainly due to the stigmatization and discrimination they face due to their gender identity.

Research shows that TGNC youth are at a much higher risk for mental health concerns than their cisgender peers. In one study, over half of TGNC youth reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, while 28 percent of their cisgender peers reported symptoms.

Other studies have found that TGNC youth are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than their cisgender peers. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 41 percent of transgender individuals have reported to have attempted suicide at some point during their life.

TGNC youth are more likely to face harassment and violence in schools, communities and even within their own families. Because of this, they can struggle with many mental health disorders such as substance abuse, depression and anxiety.

While mental health complications are more prevalent among transgender people, support is available. It is essential for communities to provide comprehensive and inclusive support for TGNC youth. This includes therapy, gender-affirming healthcare and support groups. One study discovered that among trans and nonbinary youths, gender-affirming care lowered the odds of moderate to severe depression by 60 percent and suicidality by 73 percent, consistent with other recently published similar studies. Educating parents, healthcare workers and educators about TGNC youths’ needs and experiences can help increase acceptance and reduce stigma.

Overall, the mental health concerns that TGNC youth face today highlight the need for a more inclusive and accepting society. By providing support and resources, we can help these individuals overcome challenges they may face and lead fulfilling lives.

UofL Health – Peace Hospital offers hope and healing for TGNC youth and others who are struggling with mental health and/or substance use disorders. No cost level-of-care assessments are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, please call Peace Hospital’s Assessment and Referral Center at 502-451-3333.

Also, UofL Health – UofL Physicians has providers who offer gender-affirming health care. Call 502-588-4343 to find a provider and schedule an appointment.

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Chris E. Nelson, MSSW

Chris E. Nelson, MSSW, is the supervisor of the Assessment and Referral Center at UofL Health – Peace Hospital. He has been with UofL Health for five years and directly manages the PRN assessment clinician team, which includes both mobile clinicians and telecommuters. He enjoys working for UofL Health and the team he works with across the organization. Chris is passionate about his role and having the opportunity to learn from challenging cases and situations to further his clinical and leadership skills.

All posts by Chris E. Nelson, MSSW
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