Statement of Support for LGBTQ+ Community
This Pride Month 2022, the Carroll County Health Department (CCHD) reaffirms our commitment to our local LGBTQ+ community. The CCHD serves ALL members of the Carroll County Community, especially those who are underrepresented, experience health inequities, or have limited resources. The mental and physical health impacts of bullying and discrimination are well established and constitute a clear and present threat to the health and happiness of the LGBTQ+ community, racial and ethnic minorities, and others who face barriers to acceptance and equal treatment. Young people are especially vulnerable and deserve special attention to enable a sense of safety and compassionate acceptance at home, in school, and throughout the community.
Results from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) show that more U.S. high school students who self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) report having been bullied on school property (32%) and cyberbullied (26.6%) in the past year than their straight peers (17.1% and 14.1%, respectively). The study also showed that more LGB students (13.5%) than straight students (7.5%) reported not going to school because of safety concerns.
Bullying puts all youth at increased risk for depression, suicidal ideation, misuse of drugs and alcohol, and other risky behaviors, and can affect academics as well. For LGBTQ+ youth, that risk is even higher. (https://www.stopbullying.gov/bullying/lgbtq)
According to the CDC, a study of youth in grades 7-12 found that LGB youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their straight peers, due to bias, discrimination, family rejection, and other stressors associated with how they are treated because of their sexual identity or gender identity/expression. These “microaggressions” can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges, as well as to suicide and self-harming behavior.
As the local health department and Behavioral Health Authority, the CCHD recognizes the profound importance of schools and other youth programs as safe spaces and sources of support for LGBTQ+ youth. We encourage our entire community to help LGBTQ+ and all youth feel physically and emotionally safe by:
- Encouraging respect for all
- Prohibiting bullying, harassment, and violence against all youth
- Identifying “safe spaces” where LGBTQ+ and all youth can receive support
- Training school and youth program staff on how to create safe and supportive school environments for LGBTQ+ and all youth
- Encouraging student-led and student-organized clubs that promote a safe, welcoming, and accepting environment
- Ensuring that health curricula and materials include information that is relevant to LGBTQ+ youth
- Using inclusive language and chosen names and pronouns
- Facilitating access to community-based providers who have experience working with LGBTQ+ youth
(Adapted from https://www.stopbullying.gov/bullying/lgbtq)
The CCHD is committed to working with local partners to improve access to services and support for LGBTQ+ youth and people of all ages. We support all efforts to ensure that members of LGBTQ+ and minority, disabled, and other communities subject to bullying, harassment, and discrimination, are protected and can continue to find safe, supportive, welcoming spaces in our community.
Sue Doyle, R.N.
Robert Wack, M.D.
Deputy Health Officer
LGBTQIA+ Mental Health Resources from NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Health):
- FreeState Justice is Maryland’s statewide advocacy non-profit that seeks to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Marylanders.
- The Center for LGBTQ Health Equity. As part of Chase Brexton Health Care, the Center for LGBTQ Health Equity can connect you and your loved ones to affirming, welcoming, and informed solutions to help you manage your health care needs.
- The Pride Center of Maryland works as a catalyst uniting and empowering sexual and gender minorities in Maryland and to advocate for a better quality of life for the entire community.
- Hearts & Ears, Inc. is a trans-led, peer-run wellness and recovery center for LGBTQIA+ people. They offer a variety of groups and activities as well as daily check-ins, and assist in locating a job, housing, mental and behavioral health resources and applications.
- GLSEN Maryland is a chapter of GLSEN, a grassroots imitative working locally in our community to ensure safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Trans Maryland is a multi-racial, multi-gender, trans-led community power building organization dedicated to Maryland’s trans community.
- LGBTQIA+ Trauma and Internalized Shame – NAMI
- National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021 – Trevor Project
- Tips for Parents of LGBTQ Youth – Johns Hopkins Medicine
- NAMI LGBTQI overview