LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health



Two hands holding small pride flags in front of a yellow background.



Resources for School Mental Health Providers and School Personnel

The Southeast MHTTC School Mental Health Initiative is collaborating with the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity to support school mental health providers as they increase their skills as affirming providers to better support LGBTQ+ students. An affirming provider is a provider who does more than accept their client's identity; they embrace all LGBTQ+ identities and have knowledge and tools for individualized care based on their clients' experiences. Affirming providers should be able to address how heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other adverse experiences LGBTQ+ clients experience face can affect their daily lives and mental health. Affirming providers use appropriate and accurate labels, terminology, and pronouns when speaking to and about their clients. 


Two youth in a classroom setting, reading books while sitting back to back with each other. Above the youth is a banner with small pride flags hung in the window of the classroom.



Recent Webinars

In Spring 2022 we hosted three live learning sessions focused on building provider skills for supporting LGBTQ+ youth. The intended audience for this series is providers who are interested in learning more about how they can best support their LGBTQ+ clients.  


How to signal you are an affirming provider & how to respond when a young person discloses their SOGIE

Recording: CEU Version      CME Version      Non-Credit Certificate of Attendance 


Supporting families of LGBTQ+ students

Recording: CEU Version      CME Version      Non-Credit Certificate of Attendance 


Safety planning for LGBTQ+ students

Recording: CEU Version      CME Version      Non-Credit Certificate of Attendance 




Toolbox for Affirmatively Supporting Youth 

Use the resources below to stay up to date with the most accurate and affirming language and approaches to supporting LGBTQ+ clients. We know that many providers are new to this work so we want to start with basic information about LGBTQ+ identities and terminology. 


SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression)

For and introduction to sexual orientation, gender identify, and expression check out this animation, Learning about SOGIE (6 min), and download the accompanying Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity glossary for a list of terms commonly use in LGBTQ+ communities. 



Sexual Orientation and Behavioral Health 101

This webinar (60 min), provided by the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, enables behavioral health service providers to be more equipped to support, treat, and advocate for people with diverse sexual orientations. Considering a general lack of LGBTQ+ affirming knowledge  among healthcare providers, along with data and research which suggests LGBTQ+ people are at a higher risk for poor health outcomes, this webinar offers institutions the skills they need to minimize gaps. Participants will define sexual orientation and explore related terms and concepts in human sexuality, become more intimately aware of the unique experiences of people who have diverse sexual orientations, learn specific behavioral health disparities, including risk and protective factors for people of various sexual orientations, and gain a toolkit of best practices for applying this knowledge in the field. 

CEU Version HERE.

CME Version HERE.

Certificate of Attendance Version HERE



Gender Identity, Expression, and Behavioral Health 101  

This webinar (60 min), provided by the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, provides foundational knowledge about gender identity and gender expression, and how to best provide services for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals across the lifespan. Participants will learn concepts relating to gender identity and expression, as well as the process of transitioning, and respectful terms. Important terms that will be defined include but are not limited to: transgender, cisgender, nonbinary, intersex, and pronouns. Social, legal, and medical types of transition will be reviewed, as well as potential interpersonal/familial and systemic barriers to transition. Risk factors and behavioral health disparities for adults and children in this community will be reviewed, as well as best practices service providers can use to create a respectful and welcoming environment.

CEU Version HERE.

CME Version HERE.

Certificate of Attendance Version HERE




Providing Trauma-Informed Care for LGBTQ+ Children & Youth: Integrating FAP & TF-CBT

LGBTQ+ children and youth are at high risk for trauma that is both related to, and unrelated to their identities. This webinar (60 min) will discuss the integration of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), the most widely used trauma treatment model for children and youth worldwide, and the Family Acceptance Project (FAP), the first research and family support model to reduce risk and promote well-being for LGBTQ+ children and youth. This session is provided by the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ behavioral Health Equity.

CEU Version HERE.

CME Version HERE.

Certificate of Attendance Version HERE



Comprehensive E-Learning Offerings

Provided by the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, these e-learnings will lead attendees through self-paced modules that cover a range of topics to help build foundational knowledge. Combined, these e-learnings provide 6 CEUs from NASW or CMEs.

  • Understanding the Unique Needs of LGBTQ People
  • Exploring SOGIE-Focused Terminology
  • Working w/Transgender & Non-Binary Populations
  • Exploration of Intersectionality
  • Addressing Biases w/in Ourselves, Systems, & Providers
  • Creating Welcoming Environment: Enhancing Diversity
  • & Non-Discrimination Policies & Practices


     Access modules HERE.


Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health in Schools 

In this series, experts from GLSEN provide (1) an overview of the school experiences of LGBTQ+ secondary school students and (2) an overview of practices and policies that can improve the school experiences of LGBTQ+ students. The intended audience for this series is all school personnel, including but not limited to educators, administrators, providers, and staff. 

View recordings



A pride rainbow flag sticker on a wall next to a wooden door with a silver door handle. Below the stick are the words "LGBTQI Counselling"



Crisis Hotlines 


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Crisis prevention and emotional support helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 1-800-273-TALK.


Trevor Helpline

Crisis prevention and support helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 866-488-7386.


Other Resources 

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

GLSEN has a host of resources for educators, school mental health providers, administrators. These range from professional development opportunities, education resources, guides for starting GSAs, curriculum examples, and much more. 


Bending the Mold: An Action Kit for Transgender Students

This toolkit is designed to assist transgender, gender non-conforming, questioning, and ally students to make school a safer place. Resources include how to advocate for change as well as an extensive list of resources to help you connect with the transgender community and find support.



Support for LGBTQ Youth Starts at Home: An #AsYouAre Project

The Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work (The Institute) has partnered with the Biden Foundation to create an animated short focused on family acceptance of youth with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE). This animated short focuses on the impact of rejection children, youth and young adults can experience in their homes and communities and provides examples and strategies to promote support, acceptance and affirmation of youth with diverse SOGIE. The Institute was honored to support the important work of the Biden Foundation’s As You Are: A Family and Community Acceptance Campaign and shares the commitment to ensuring equal dignity and opportunity for all LGBTQ Americans.



LGBTQ+ Youth and Family Website 

The Institute for Innovation & Implementation, in collaboration with the Family Acceptance Project, has launched a new online resource to help #LGBTQyouth & families find services & increase support for LGBTQ youth. This first of its kind website aims to help decrease isolation, family rejection & mental health risks, as well as increase well-being.


MAP: LGBTQ Curricular Laws

LGBTQ-related curricular laws are important for LGBTQ students’ health, wellbeing, and academic success. This map shows three distinct policies related to LGBTQ inclusion in—or exclusion from—school curricula or standards. First, LGBTQ-inclusive curricular laws explicitly require the state’s curricular standards to include LGBTQ people and history, such as in subjects like history, civics, or social studies. Harmful, exclusionary laws include parental opt-out laws, which require parents to be notified in advance of LGBTQ-inclusive curricula and allow parents to opt their children out of those classes. “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” policies censor teachers and staff from even talking about LGBTQ people or issues.



MAP: Safe Schools Laws

Anti-bullying laws protect LGBTQ students from bullying by other students, teachers, and school staff on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This map shows state anti-bullying laws that explicitly enumerate sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected characteristics, as well as states that explicitly interpret existing prohibitions against sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In some states, school regulation or teacher code prohibits bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These states are only reflected on this map if these are the only available protections in the state.



Lambda Legal 

Lambda Legal works for respect and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, adult professionals and LGBT-headed families in schools and other organized youth activities, such as the Boy Scouts.



If you are looking for additional information that isn't covered here, check out the The Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity or reach out to us at [email protected]



LGBTQI+ Youth – Like All Americans, They Deserve Evidence-Based Care (SAMHSA)



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