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LGBTQ Services for Youth

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Young People (YP) are specially categorized when it comes to health and social services, and there are specific qualifications and trainings that enhances practitioners’ skills and approaches when working with youth. The category itself brings up key issues regarding sensitive subjects and complex psychoemotional, cognitive and social situations and processes that young people will experience thought the youth course of life. However, a developing area of youth services, which still faces many challenges, is LGBTQ services.

It is quite common for those services not be communicated well to the potential service users if they exist. In other words, such options of support are not promoted fairly for the people who might find use for them. Even though health services are installed within institutions (e.g. colleges), the LGBTQ subject area is not “obvious” and therefore provides a miss the opportunity to engage with LGBTQ youth.

Perpetuated stereotypes in our society tend to define which services young people can access. It is not unusually for youth to desire social belong among self-socially-accepted groups absent diverse environment. Most importantly, peer groups or family dynamics often become a critical reason why youths may not use such services due to the stigma and discrimination they might experience.

As long as young people feel intimidated by such potential outcomes, LGBTQ youth will continue to face dismal outcomes as relates to homelessness and suicide. According to an article in the Huffington Post on US statistics,

On a national level, the suicide risk for gay and lesbian youth is far higher than for straight young people, according to a 2011 study by the Massachusetts-based Suicide Prevention Resource Center. The study also found that gays and lesbians between the ages of 15 and 24 are up to three times more likely to report suicidal thoughts and up to seven times more likely to report having attempted suicide than their straight counterparts. Read More

More action is needed in creating and maintaining better policies and programs to produce an environment where young people may express themselves on a non-judgmental ground. There is lack of sources and information regarding integrated support services with educational institutions, which are the main socialization environments for young people teenagehood to early adulthood. This alone should be a primary motivator to increase protective factors and reduce risks in young people lives during the early stages.

Dr. Panagiotis Pentaris is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Integrated Care. He is a Social Worker with particular specialty in Thanatology. LGBTQ issues, due to his personal sexual orientation as well, have become a critical focus for him since more than seven years ago. Follow: http://gold.academia.edu/PanagiotisPentaris

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