According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the risk of a mental health condition, like depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is almost three times as high for youth and adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) – or those with a sexuality that doesn’t apply to any existing category.

Even more ominous, The Trevor Project reports that suicide – the second leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 24 – is attempted four times more often by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning youth, and suicide attempts by transgender youth are elevated as well. Studies have also shown that gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are almost twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to abuse drugs and alcohol.

With high rates of suicide and mental health conditions, it’s vitally important that the LGBT community is understood and supported. We analyzed over 160,000 records from the CDC’s annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and spoke personally with members of the LGBT community to get an in-depth sense of the struggles they face and how their experiences in society have come to bear on their mental health. Read on to find out how LGBT people are navigating the difficult issues of mental health, addiction, and more.

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