Catch up on all the news related to mental health and psychiatry from last week!
Mental Health Begins at Home: Familial Acceptance as a Protective Factor Against Mood Disorders for Transgendered Individuals
Recently the media has picked up on the story of Jennifer Gable, a 32-year old transgendered woman who died of a sudden brain aneurysm and was buried as a male, complete with cut hair and suit jacket. Friends and colleagues were infuriated, since Gable had legally changed her name to Jennifer from Geoff in 2007 despite the estrangement it caused from her parents. Jennifer's life as a transgendered person was reportedly not acknowledged during her funeral. Clearly, familial acceptance of transgendered people has a long way to go.
And it seems vital that we get to a place where families are accepting of their transgendered members quickly. Studies have shown (and are collected here, as part of a larger piece on the subject) that transgendered people are disproportionately more likely to develop mood disorders as a result of a lack of protective factors, particularly a strong social network that is composed primarily of family members. In addition to increased risk of depression due to societal stigma, transgendered people who experienced rejection of their gender identities by their parents have a rate of incidence of depression 6 times greater, 8 times greater rates of attempted suicide, and thrice the rates of both illegal drug use and risky sexual activities that result in increased rates of diseases such as HIV.
All of those higher incidences are compared only to transgendered teens that DON'T experience parental rejection, who still have an elevated rate of depressive and mood-related disorders compared to the general population.
The Family Acceptance Project 'is a research, intervention, education and policy initiative that works to prevent health and mental health risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children and youth, including suicide, homelessness and HIV – in the context of their families.' They use an evidence-based approach to family health and wellness and make freely available resources and counselling to families with transgendered members.
As with so many valuable things, mental health begins at home.
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