Leading Mental Health Organizations Say HB 2 Will Lead to ‘Hardship’ and ‘Suffering’ for LGBT North Carolinians

By Megan Clayton • May 4, 2016 • 12:40 pm

Two of North Carolina’s leading mental health policy and advocacy groups issued a statement today denouncing House Bill 2 and urging lawmakers to consider the demonstrated negative effects that such legislation has on LGBT people.


The North Carolina Psychiatric Association (NCPA) and the North Carolina Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (NCCCAP) spoke directly to members of the North Carolina General Assembly, reiterating their “longstanding offer to provide the NCGA with expert medical advice and objective evidence” on issues affecting the health of LGBT people.

The organizations did not mince words in their condemnations of HB 2 specifically:

“Our patients already face medical, social, and emotional challenges. We are concerned that HB2 creates unnecessary hardship for vulnerable patients, parents, and youth. Such hardship serves to increase suffering and morbidity among North Carolina’s citizens and, as such, raises great concern for us as psychiatric physicians.”

The link between discriminatory legislation and poor mental health outcomes among LGBT people, especially youth, is well documented, the associations explain. So too is the link between such laws and physical violence directed at LGBT people. The organizations explain in their statement:

“Research has linked anti-LGBT discrimination to increased risk of depression, anxiety, and substance use. Studies show that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are up to six times more likely to attempt suicide, while 41% of transgender people report having made a suicide attempt. … Increased rates of hate crimes against LGBT individuals have been associated with an increase in suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.”

The NCPA and NCCCAP also explicitly address the issue of restroom access, noting that “forcing transgender individuals to use restrooms inconsistent with their gender identity puts them at increased risk of violence.”

Mental health groups are frequently on the front lines in speaking out against anti-LGBT bills and for comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination laws. Four years ago the American Psychiatric Association officially added support for laws that protect transgender people to their organizational platform. And in February, as the South Dakota legislature considered the now-defunct House Bill 1008—which would have restricted restroom and facility use for transgender children in public schools—seven of the nation’s leading patient advocates issued statements detailing the real physical and mental harm these bills cause, especially to vulnerable groups like children.

Learn more about LGBT non-discrimination in North Carolina.

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