SAMHSA guide offers practitioners resources to help families support their LGBT children

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is releasing “A Practitioners Resource Guide: Helping Families to support Their LGBT Children.” This resource Guide is designed to help health care and social service practitioners provide greater insight to families on how they can support their children who are coming out or identifying themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

SAMHSA produced this Guide based in part on research from the Family Acceptance Project, which indicates that LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family rejection during adolescence, compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection, were:



8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide;


5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression; and


3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs.


With greater access to more information about sexual orientation, gender identity and LGBT resources through the internet and other media, more young people have been coming out than ever before and at younger ages. Since families have been shown to play a crucial role in child and adolescent development and well-being, the family-oriented approach offered by this new SAMHSA Guide can provide useful information to practitioners and families with LGBT children during this critical period.  


SAMHSA’s Guide is designed to encourage practitioners to be pro-active in meeting parents, families and care-givers “where they are” to build an alliance to support their LGBT children and advance their health and well-being. This includes specific information on the positive steps that can be taken to support their children, as well as ways of avoiding or modifying behaviors that may be perceived as negative or harmful by LGBT youth.


The Guide also references resources that providers, families and LGBT youth can turn to for information and support.


SAMHSA’s Guide is available at:


For further information about SAMHSA please visit:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

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