Western New York responds to mental health issues of LGBTQ+ youth

Mahlia Lowell of Cheektowaga, New York has spent most of her life knowing and accepting that she’s a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The people around her were not always as accepting. 

“Sixth grade is when I started to get bullied,” Lowell said. “And all that bullying and not being accepted by my peers and everything is what really started to trigger me as an individual, and questioning my worth.”

At the tender age of eleven, Lowell started self-harming. Years later, she would attempt suicide.

“LGBTQ youth are two and a half times more likely to self harm,” executive director of GLYS Western New York Robert DiGangi-Roush said. “Those that are actually rejected by their families are eight times more likely to commit suicide.”

According to Roush, 40% of teens who are homeless in Western New York identify as member of the LGBTQ+ community.

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