Lake County Behavioral Health Services Recognizes Transgender Awareness Week

Lake County Behavioral Health Services invites residents to join in spotlighting Transgender Awareness Week, November 13-19, and Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday, November 20.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was first observed in 1999 and is now recognized in more than 20 countries. This day honors Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts, in 1998. On November 20, we remember transgender individuals who have lost their lives.

https://www.glaad.org/tdor

https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/transgender-day-of-rembrance-2022/

Tragically, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) documented 57 “violent fatal incidents against transgender and gender non-conforming people” in 2021 (the highest number since their monitoring began in 2015 and more than 2.7 times the 2015 and 2016 totals).  HRC reports at least 32 such instances have been documented in 2022 thus far.

https://www.hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2021

https://www.hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2022

The week prior to TDOR, Transgender Awareness Week (November 13-19), seeks to “help raise the visibility of transgender people and address issues members of the community face.”

https://www.glaad.org/transweek

“At Behavioral Health Services, we ensure our doors are open to all, regardless of gender identity,” states Todd Metcalf, director of Lake County Behavioral Health Services.  “We embrace and celebrate differences, offering a haven of safety and security.  The majority of people we serve have experienced some sort of trauma.  Transgender and gender non-conforming people are too often targeted with violence, and we must create safe places to heal.”

Mental health challenges are common. In fact, about one in five Americans are currently living with a mental illness such as anxiety or depression.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness

Unfortunately, in the transgender community, that number is much higher.  A cross-sectional analysis of electronic health record data published in 2019 found diagnoses of mood disorders (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder) among transgender patients five times more prevalent than in the general population:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830528/

More than 80% of transgender individuals have considered suicide and over 40 percent have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth.

https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/suicidality-transgender-adults/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32345113/

Homelessness is also a critical issue for transgender people.  In November 2021, the White House’s Interagency Working Group on Safety, Opportunity, and Inclusion for Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals reported, “One in three transgender adults [had] experienced homelessness.”

https://www.usich.gov/news/biden-administration-releases-report-memorializing-transgender-day

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Report_Memorializing-Transgender-Day-of-Remembrance_FINAL-002.pdf

Mental health issues can be exacerbated by a transgender or gender non-conforming individual’s response to stigma, discrimination, lack of acceptance, and abuse faced on a regular basis. For many, dealing with discrimination results in heightened stress responses, leading to depression and/or anxiety. Beyond threats to psychological well-being, transgender people are at far greater risk of experiencing violence and death.

Lake County Behavioral Health Services provides recovery-oriented mental health, substance use disorder and homeless 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 are a transgender person of any age, support is also available via the Trans Lifeline, at 877-565-8860.  Visit https://translifeline.org/ for more information.

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