Support Systems and Mental Health With Homeless Transgender Youth
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Transgender youth are a unique population within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and further community (LGBTQ+). Transgender youth are at an increased risk of homelessness and mental health adversities. Common mental health adversities faced by homeless transgender youth include anxiety, depression, self-harming behaviours, and suicidal ideations (Mountz et al., 2018; Powell et al., 2016; Rhoades et al., 2018; Strauss et al., 2019). Gender-affirming care is crucial in supporting the needs of transgender youth as they face discrimination and stigmatization due to their gender identity. Transgender youth face difficulty accessing medical and mental health care and housing that does not discriminate against their gender identity (Abramovich, 2016; Mountz et al., 2018; Oakley & Bletsas, 2018). Gender-affirming care can be provided by homeless shelters, medical providers, and mental health professionals. Understanding the unique challenges facing homeless transgender youth, such as access to gender-affirming services and mental health adversities, will allow for an increased understanding of the support systems needed by this population. Implications for counselling psychology include understanding what supports are needed, increasing the diversity of knowledge towards the transgender community, knowing how to advocate for youth and build youth advocacy, and understanding the unique circumstances facing homeless transgender youth. Having an awareness of personal bias and challenges faced by transgender youth can aid in the treatment when working with homeless transgender youth.