Expert: Youngkin’s proposed policies may cause negative mental health effects

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 4:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposed policies about transgender student rights is bringing up concerns about the toll they could take on a teenager’s mental health.

The Dorm Chief Clinical Officer Amanda Fialk says restricting the rights of transgender students can leave this already vulnerable population in a dangerous position.

“It’s not just about bathrooms,” Fialk said. “There’s really big mental health implications for all these policies.”

Fialk says studies suggest there is a direct correlation with depression and suicide when transgender youth can’t follow their gender identity.

“Eighty-five percent of transgender youth who were not allowed or discouraged from using their affirming bathroom experienced symptoms of depression, and 60% considered suicide,” she said. “The majority don’t feel safe to be themselves in their home environment, and, in fact, being themselves could lead to violence in the home. It could lead to being kicked out and ending up being homeless.”

School is often the place where students can feel comfortable.

“We need to respect and keep safe places safe, because lives are at stake,” Fialk said.

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