SoCal therapist shares ways to support the LGBTQ+ community

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LONG BEACH, CALIF. - Pride Month is a time for acceptance and celebration. However, research shows that LGBTQ teens are at increased risk of suicide and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.  

A Southern California therapist explained additional pressures like family rejection, bullying, and threats are contributing to this crisis.

"There isn't as much protection, or even let alone celebration or embracing of these identities. There's still plenty of skepticism," said Sara Stanizai, LMFT. "The reason is because of how they are mistreated, how they are stigmatized, and their lack of support."

She continued to explain, "They are now being told they're not being supported at home sometimes, and now they're being told at school. Teachers are not allowed to use certain pronouns or something. The walls are closing in on a lot of these young people, and that is what's leading to the depression and the anxiety."

Stanizai and her group Prospect Therapy in Long Beach specialize in helping members of the LGBTQ community. Stanizai is queer herself and says it gives her some added empathy for the people she counsels.

She offered advice to friends, family, and allies.

"If someone comes out to you, the first thing you should do is say, ‘Thank you for telling me.’ Even if you struggle with the information. If you can't feel happy about it, you can feel happy that they felt safe enough with you to tell you, because they didn't have to that," she said.

Stanizai says also says it’s really important to do research when searching for a therapist. She says it’s ok to shop around and ask about their certifications and experience dealing with the LGBTQ community.

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