"LGBTQ+ college students face “sizable” mental health challenges compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, according to a new report by the Proud & Thriving Project. The study found that LGBTQ+ students experience a higher incidence of substance misuse, depression, suicidal ideation and academic and extracurricular disengagement than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Among the students surveyed, 83 percent of LGBTQ+ students said they had experienced stress over the past six months, compared to 71 percent of non-LGBTQ+ students. Sixty-seven percent of LGBTQ+ students said they felt lonely or isolated, and 55 percent expressed feelings of hopelessness, compared to 49 percent and 35 percent of non-LGBTQ+ students, respectively.

The pandemic only exacerbated these discrepancies, the report found. Nearly all the counselors and administrators surveyed said that COVID-19 worsened symptoms of depression, anxiety, loneliness and difficulty coping with stress among LGBTQ+ students. Eighty-six percent named anxiety as the top-presenting issue among the LGBTQ+ students they served over the past six months, 84 percent cited depression and 75 percent listed “family concerns” -- including fear of coming out and acceptance of their identity -- as the biggest concern among their LGBTQ+ students." Continue reading here.

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