four easy ways to be an ally for the LGBTQIA+ youth in your life

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On this Wear It Purple day, Headspace shares simple ways to be a more inclusive society that celebrates all sexualities and gender identities.

Wear It Purple Day is a national day to raise awareness and celebrate the diversity of young people in the LGBTQIA+ community.

headspace Headspace National Clinical Advisor Rupert Saunders said headspace understands the importance of days like Wear It Purple, with 30% of young people who come to headspace centers identifying as LGBTQIA+.

“Social exclusion, discrimination and feelings of isolation increase the likelihood that young people will suffer from mental health problems – regardless of who they are,” said Mr Saunders.

“Headspace research shows that LGBTQIA+ youth are twice as likely as their heterosexual and cisgender peers to report high or very high levels of psychological distress.

“We also know that they are less likely to turn to family or healthcare professionals for help when faced with problems.

“That’s why it’s vital that we work to make society a respectful and welcoming place for everyone, especially young gay people.”

Saunders recommends these ways to make sure LGBTQIA+ youth feel safe and loved:

  1. Get informed. “It can be helpful to learn more about the experiences of young LGBTQIA+ people and how best to openly support your young person. This shows young people that you care about them and want to be there for them, while reducing the need for them to feel like they’ve explained everything themselves. Be curious and don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know.

  2. Open a communication channel. Listen to what your child has to say. “Ask them about their feelings and experiences without judgment or confrontation. Be patient and show that you love, trust and respect them.

  3. express yourself. Show your support by calling out inappropriate comments or behavior, and challenge counterproductive stories when possible. Stand up for the LGBTIQA+ community by starting conversations with others, participating in events, and supporting legislation.

  4. Look for signs of mental distress. If it seems like your teen is having trouble with their identity or being bullied, trust your instincts and ask for help. Signs may include changes in mood, sleep patterns, appetite, or other concerning behaviors.

“All young people are resilient and with the right support they can thrive and thrive,” Mr Saunders said.

“Young gay people can and should be able to be proud of their diversity and feel safe and welcomed by everyone they meet.

“Headspace is always available if you or your youngster need support. headspace is a welcoming, safe and inclusive service that can provide counseling and other services to support the wellbeing and mental health of LGBTQIA+ youth.

We encourage any youth, family or friends in need of support or consultation to visit their local headspace center. Support is also available by phone and through the eheadspace online advisory service seven days a week between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. (AEST). The number is 1800 650 890.

If you are looking for someone to talk to immediately, Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) are available to talk to 24/7

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