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Study Reveals Increasingly Poor Mental Health in Non-Binary, LGBQ+ College Students

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June 15, 2024Undergraduate college students are more likely to experience depression and anxiety today than ever before. Among those students, non-binary and LGBQ+ individuals have recently experienced a particularly significant increase in diagnoses for depression and anxiety compared to their heterosexual peers.1 According to new research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, about one-third of students in the 2011-2012 school year said they felt “so depressed it was hard to function.” By 2017-2018, this number grew to 42% — a 13% annual increase, according to the study authors.

Among LGBQ+ students — defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and others — the rate of diagnosis and treatment for depression rose 23% per year during the same time frame.Further, the number of non-binary BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students diagnosed with or treated for depression rose 61% between 2016 and 2019; among non-binary non-Hispanic white students, depression diagnoses rose 49% over the same period.The study reported a notable rise in the number of students diagnosed with or treated for anxiety.

Among LGBQ+ students, the incidence of anxiety increased 22% each year; for heterosexual students, it rose 12% each year.The number of students who seriously thought about suicide nearly doubled from 7.4% to 13% over the study period, with a more pronounced increase among LGBQ+ and BIPOC students, especially women.“These results indicate that it is imperative to better address the mental health challenges faced by non-binary and LGBQ+ students while avoiding actions that may lead to their alienation, isolation, and oppression,” the study’s authors wrote.They attribute the rising mental health challenges in.

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