Since 1999, November 20 has been observed as Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day honors Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts in 1998. Each November 20, people in nearly 25 countries honor transgender individuals who have lost their lives, and stand in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
“As leaders in Behavioral Health, we ensure our doors are open to all people, regardless of gender identity. We celebrate and embrace differences and offer a haven where those we serve have a feeling of safety and security,” states Todd Metcalf, Director of Lake County Behavioral Health Services. He continues, “The majority of folks we serve have experienced some sort of trauma, and this population is often targeted with violence. We must create a safe place for healing.”
Mental health challenges are common; in fact, about one in five Americans are currently living with a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. Unfortunately, in the transgender community, that number is much higher, at nearly one in two. A January 2014 UCLA/Williams Institute review of National Transgender Discrimination Survey data found 41% of respondents had attempted suicide attempted suicide (approximately 9 times the rate of the overall United States population).
Mental health issues are exacerbated by a transgender person’s response to stigma, discrimination, lack of acceptance and abuse; these are far too routine. For many, having to deal with discrimination results in a heightened stress response, which can lead to depression and/or anxiety.
Beyond threats to psychological well-being, transgender people are also at risk of experiencing violence and death at much greater rates. Murders of transgender individuals have been shockingly high in 2020, exceeding 2019’s total in 7 months, per the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Homelessness is also a critical issue for transgender individuals; one in five has experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.
Please join Lake County Behavioral Health Services in spotlighting the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.
Lake County Behavioral Health Services provides recovery-oriented mental health and substance use disorder services to those in need. For more information, please contact Lake County Behavioral Health Services at 707-274-9101 or 707-994-7090. If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re a young LGBTQ person and need to talk to someone, call The Trevor Project’s 24-hour crisis hotline for youth at 1-866-488-7386. If you are a transgender person of any age, call the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860