Feature by Nikita Fernandes
The COVID-19 pandemic took the whole world by surprise and wreaked havoc on a global scale. Although the pandemic presented many physical health implications, the pandemic also exacerbated the stressors that sexual and gender minorities feel on a day-to-day basis. The COVID-19 pandemic stressors have had multiple mental health repercussions for LGBTQ+ youth who are already receive less support. The psychological effects of quarantine have been related to an increased incidence of mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, confusion, rage, as well as more despair. During the quarantine period of the COVID-19 pandemic, LGBTQ+ young adults were forced to stay in homes with negative family climates which had a detrimental effect on their mental health (Gato et al., 2020). Many LGBTQ youths may not have disclosed their sexual and gender identities to their family yet, so they lack support and acceptance from this primary socialization group (Gato et al., 2020). LGBT youth feel “stuck at home with unsupportive parents” and face unfavorable factors such as self-quarantine, limited access to LGBT-specific campus resources, and distance from an affirming social network or chosen family (Gonzales et al., 2020). Therefore, it is critical to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted LGBTQ+ young adult lives.
To help combat the repercussions of mental health, social support and psychological resilience are valuable to LGBTQ+ youth (Li., 2021). This is because during mass trauma, the mass of people experiences the psychological effects of a trauma that was suffered collectively, and social support is crucial (Tüzün et al., 2022). Resilience is defined as the ability to persevere and flourish in the face of adversity, and it aids in the defense against the negative impacts of distal and proximal minority stressors depending on identity (Gonzales et al., 2021). Social support impacts mental health and research speaks to how that support could have been taken away during the pandemic. LGBTQ+ people have demonstrated amazing bravery and persistence in the face of discrimination, rejection, and harassment as well as incredible fortitude and perseverance (Gonzales et al., 2021). Focusing on resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial for generating hope and creating major societal change. Thus, resiliency and social connectedness serve as important strategies for coping.
Sara Schapiro-Halberstam, LMHC