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LGBT communities

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Transition was the biggest blessing in Cole’s life, but it also brought along the stress of navigating a major life transition without the support of family, friends, and community members. He started partying to cope, and ended up dropping out of school to work in order to make money for drugs. Now sober, in school, and on a path to support LGBTQ2S youth, Cole reflects on the importance of treatment options that address interdependent challenges like gender identity, homelessness, and drug use and look at the whole person.

Mental Health Care and Youth

Initially, it was hard for Ryan and his family to find supports and services after Ryan came out as trans and wanted to transition. Having the right pieces in place made all the difference—supportive family and access to service providers who understood the bigger picture. However, many young people, including in Ryan’s life, who experience complicated challenges around mental health and gender identity aren’t receiving the care and support they need.

Crossing the Bridge

Anita entered government care at 13, when it wasn't safe to be at home. They dropped out of school—less than half of foster kids graduate—and battled depression. Mental illness was a monster, and Anita was scared to ask for help. The care system leaves people on their own too early, and youth in care need more. Now, Anita uses their experiences and insights to fight for others, advocating for better support for foster kids aging out of care.

Life in Transition

Anden transitioned from male to female after moving to a new town to access resources and put some distance between him and the people he saw every day. Working in industries like logging and mining—not always known as open-minded fields—brought up opportunities to help co-workers understand gender and sexual orientation, and Anden now shares his experiences and knowledge, including around mental health, to help build respectful communities.

Stigma, Resilience and Health Care for Marginalized Youth

When young people experience trauma, abuse, abandonment, or other difficult experiences, the system labels them "at risk" or "vulnerable" and makes it sound like the youth themselves are the problem. But the real problem is in the stigma and discrimination that excludes and marginalizes youth who are just trying to survive the best they can. When we build positive relationships with youth and offer inclusive and non-judgemental support, we bring people into our communities rather than push them aside.

LGBT communities

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people may face prejudice, discrimination and isolation. These added stresses can lead, in part, to higher rates of mental health and substance use problems. Supportive communities and knowledgeable service providers help build resilience and well-being so everyone is included and respected.

Treatments: What Works?

It seems like everyone has an opinion when it comes to treatments for mental health or substance use problems. To add to the confusion, it isn’t always obvious who is basing their opinions on real evidence and who is not. And while we often hear people talk about evidence-based treatments, it’s also clear that complementary and alternative medicine approaches are helpful for some.

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