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Depression High Among IA's LGBTQ Population


Thursday, December 15, 2022   

The Census Bureau has released a report that shows LGBTQ people suffered higher rates of depression, anxiety and other mental hurdles than did the general population during the pandemic - and an Iowa survey has dug a little deeper.

The census figures show that 18- to 29-year-olds reported symptoms of anxiety that were almost 18% higher than the general population during the pandemic.

A related survey by advocacy group One Iowa shows that 50% of LGBTQ respondents in Iowa report mental-health issues as their number one concern.

One Iowa project director Malycki Mañon-Sosa said the problems don't end there.

"About 40% of the folks," said Mañon-Sosa, "the LGBTQ Iowans that took that survey, reported being victims of violence all based on their LGBTQ identity."

The Iowa Health Needs Assessment also showed half of the respondents who reported struggling with mental-health issues are seeking counseling - but that a staggering 55% have considered committing suicide, with many of those saying they had plans to do so in the past year.

Mañon-Sosa said Iowa's aging population has contributed to stagnant attitudes about LGBTQ people in Iowa.

He added that One Iowa is working with state agencies and other advocacy groups, to try to end stereotypes that he says are starting to change among young people - as alternative lifestyles become more acceptable.

"Our young population is becoming more and more diverse," said Mañon-Sosa, "and if we hold onto the notion that everyone will never change and the way that society looks now will be the way that society looks forever, we start to push people who are more diverse to the margins of our society."

The Iowa Health Needs Assessment will be ongoing for five years, and works under the direction of the state Department of Health and Human Services.

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