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Gender Affirming

Treatment for LGBTQ+ Youth 

Research shows that culturally informed, evidence-based treatment provided in an inclusive, non-judgmental environment helps LGBTQ+ teens develop the practical skills they need to live a full and vibrant life in the identity they claim and as the person they are

We Understand and Support LGBTQ+ Teens 

At Evolve we provide safe, affirming treatment to LGBTQ+ adolescents from across the county who need professional support and care for mental health and substance use disorders. Our clinical teams understand the unique challenges facing LGBTQ+ youth and are trained in best practices for addressing these challenges in therapy.  

Challenges LGBTQ+ Youth Face 

LGBTQ+ teens often navigate a judgmental, negative, violent, and unforgiving environment, the impact of this is an important component in the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. 

  • Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey shows that in the U.S., approximately 9.5% of all youth ages 13-17 identify as LGBTQ+.  
  • Nearly 34% of LGBTQ+ youth report being bullied on school property, and 28% have been victims of cyberbullying.  
  • LGBTQ youth are more likely to be threatened with a weapon and experience dating violence than their heterosexual and cis-gendered peers. 

Mental Health Disorders 

LGBTQ+ individuals are three times more likely to develop major depression and/or generalized anxiety disorder than their gender/sexual majority peers. 

Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders 

LGBTQ+ individuals develop substance use disorders at roughly twice the rate as individuals in the gender/sexual majority. LGBTQ+ individuals develop alcohol use disorders at roughly three times the rate as their gender/sexual majority peers. 

Suicidal Behavior 

Lack of family and peer support combined with harassment and typical adolescent issues make LGBTQ+ teens more likely to take their own lives. Statistic show that suicide is a leading cause of death for LGBTQ + teens, and that LGBTQ + youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than gender/sexual majority peers. In addition, teens in the process of questioning their sexual identity are three times more likely to engage in suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviors than gender/sexual majority peers, and roughly half of transgender teens engage in suicidal ideation. 

Treatment for Teens Works 

Supporting LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy is a step in the right direction. LGBTQ+ programs for youth provide spaces where young people can get the support they need from peers and mental health professionals.  

What is LGBTQI+ Affirming Care at Evolve? 

LGBTQI+ affirming care is mental health treatment and support that meets well-established criteria for gender and culture competency. For LGBTQI+ adolescents, that means providers must understand how to tailor treatment plans that meet both those sets of needs: adolescent needs and LGBTQI+ needs. 


At Evolve, clinicians and staff understand not only the challenges that LGBTQI+ teens face, but the strength it takes to live the truth of their identity in a world that too often excludes, rather than includes, that identity. Our staff see and treat each LGBTQI+ teen not only through the lens of their gender or sexual identity, but as an individual: that’s validating, affirming, and leads to the best possible outcomes.  

Our staff understand that gender is a non-binary construct that allows for a range of gender identities and that a person’s gender identity may not align with the sex assigned at birth. We understand that mental health issues experienced by an individual may or may not be related their gender identity or sexual orientation. We know that while in some situations, there is a relation between the gender identity and co-occurring condition, we don’t assume there is or is not a connection without assessing. 


While many treatment centers may separate clients based on gender or sex, we believe that this does a disservice to many LGBTQ+ youth. As such, our programs provide an inclusive treatment environment where teens of all gender identities and sexual orientations are unconditionally accepted for who they are. We respect teens for who they are, their process, and what they say they need to feel whole. All staff use the preferred name and pronoun(s) of our clients. 


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