The Importance of Social Support

July 12, 2016

Close up of happy father carrying daughter on shoulders

We all need support from others. Our Born Brave Experiences research and other studies have found that social support helps reduce feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. Individuals who experience social support from family, friends, and coworkers are happier. New research shows that this support is especially critical for people who may feel different, like transgender individuals.

Did you know LGBTQ individuals are nearly 3 times more likely to experience a mental health condition like depression? Past research has painted a disheartening picture when it comes to the mental and emotional health of transgender individuals. A study of young, transgender women showed they experienced far more mental health crises than their peers. But, it doesn’t have to be this way! By providing support and accepting people for who they really are, we can make the world a better place for everyone.

In fact, an exciting study was recently published in the journal Pediatrics that found that parental support can give trans children a huge boost. Researchers discovered that with early acceptance from parents, these trans children did not have higher levels of depression than their cisgender peers. It’s clear that embracing someone’s real identity can make a huge, positive difference in their life.

In our research here at Born This Way Foundation, we’ve found that social support is a vital important protective factor for everyone, particularly individuals who face discrimination. Unfortunately, many trans individuals face bigotry and harassment every day. We hope to end discrimination toward trans individuals by raising awareness and teaching everyone the value of embracing differences.

Our work on this important issue is just beginning. Your voice is critical to making this research a success and I hope you’ll participate. We’re learning so much from our Born Brave Experiences research and I would be honored if you would share your experiences with us by taking the Born Brave Experience Survey.

Thank you for helping us to create a kinder and braver world!!!!

In kindness and bravery,

Dr. Sue

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