Enhancing Natural Supports
In their 2019 report, The Health of LGBTQIA2S+ Communities in Canada, the Standing Committee on Health reported that “bisexual and homosexual individuals are two to four times more likely than heterosexual individuals to perceive their mental health as fair or poor.”
This committee also reported that “the health inequities experienced by LGBTQIA2S+ individuals in Canada are partly due to the stigmatization of gender and sexual minorities and the
discrimination they can face in Canadian society.”
So what are
Natural Supports refer to family members and close friends of young LGBTQ+ individuals. We know from research that support and love from family members improves mental and physical health outcomes for queer youth.
Although young LGBTQ+ folk can access the support of teachers, mental health professionals, and community organizations, the acceptance and affirmation of primary care givers and peers is still very important.
Check out what Laura Shiels, a Natural Support Worker with the Centre for Sexuality, has to say about enhancing natural supports: https://www.centreforsexuality.ca/2019/02/the-importance-of-natural-supports-in-lgbtq2s-lives/
How can we enhance natural supports?
Educating parents and community members, encouraging allyship, empowering people to understand and affirm their LGBTQ+ family members, and offering families guidance are all ways we can enhance these natural supports.
Here are some resources and organizations that families can utilize on this journey of acceptance, understanding, and love:
Centre for Sexuality - Enhancing Natural Supports for LGBTQ+ Youth: https://www.centreforsexuality.ca/programs-workshops/lgbtq/enhancing-supports-lgbtq-youth/
Information on Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression for parents: https://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.pdf
Information on Ending Conversion Therapy & Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth: https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma15-4928.pdf
Helping Families Support Their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Children: https://nccc.georgetown.edu/documents/LGBT_Brief.pdf
Building Personal Support Networks: https://www.communitylivingbc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Belonging-To-One-Another-final.pdf