Pride Month Report: What Parents Can Do for Their Trans Daughters and Sons


1.8 million LBGTQ youth (13-24) in the US seriously consider suicide each year. The numbers for trans people in particular are even more staggering. According to the UCLA Williams Institute report, 81.7 percent of those surveyed by the National Center for Transgender Equality had seriously thought about killing themselves in their lifetimes, and 48.3 percent had done so in the last year. 40.4 percent of transgender people attempted suicide sometime in their lifetime.

Suicide happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain. This report adds evidence to that assertion. The following statistics are pulled directly and paraphrased or quoted from this report.

Mental Health Innovators Ponder the End of the COVID-19 Honeymoon

Dear Mental Health Innovators: The COVID-19 Honeymoon Is Almost Over.

The title of a recent PsychiatricTimes.com article caught my eye. Honeymoon? Then I realized it was dated May 19, so perhaps the authors could rewrite the title with the "Almost" removed.

The authors identify predictable stages of psychological response to our current pandemic. Unbeknownst to those whose education was really less education and more training for their future jobs (so things like history were deemed a waste of time), the human family has lived through past disasters, including multiple pandemics. There are patterns to these things.

Heroic Stage

Care of the Soul and COVID-19

Ronald W. Pies is a psychiatrist, bioethicist, and professor emeritus at SUNY and Tufts. His writings often tend to the philosophical, which keeps me reading his work and occasionally engaging with him in cross conversation between Prozac Monologues and PyschiatricTimes.com, where he served as editor-in-chief 2007-2010.

Pies' recent post is one such example where our respective disciplines come along side each other, Care of the Soul in the Time of COVID-19. He identifies five assaults on the soul made by the pandemic: impotence, grief, loneliness, mistrust, and displacement. While underlining that one solution will not work for all, he proposes cognitive therapy, gratitude, and the arts as strategies for healing.

Therapy and Spiritual Direction

As a physician, it is natural that Dr. Pies would write of problems and solutions. I too have been thinking about the larger implications of the COVID pandemic. However, I do less pastoral care these days. My thinking has been more in the realm of spiritual direction. Spiritual direction is as likely to trouble the mind as soothe it, raising questions to ponder rather than soothing manifestations of distress. So my care of the soul focuses on the questions that COVID raises about identity, values, and purpose. 

Identity

Will This Trauma Never End?

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