March 15, 2021

Report Shows Pandemic Challenges Disproportionately Affected LGBTQ+ Community

The Damien Center

The Damien Center

Updated March 15 at 5:15 p.m.

A community-wide assessment by the Damien Center highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting central Indiana’s LGBTQ+ community.

The report specifically looked at mental health, physical health, economic stability, and social connections.

Damien Center President and CEO Alan Witchey said the LGBTQ+ population is 23 percent more likely to have experienced a decline in mental health during the pandemic.

“It was a significant number, but what we did find across the board everyone’s mental health declined during this time period so it was very dramatic,” Witchey said.

The divide is even greater for LGBTQ+ youth. Nearly 9 in 10 LGBTQ+ youth and young adults under 25 reported their mental health got worse during the pandemic.

Forty-seven percent reported their physical health has gotten worse, more than twice the rate among their cisgender heterosexual peers. Eighty-four percent of LGBTQ+ youth report they have experienced a decline in social connections during the pandemic.

Witchey said he hopes the survey results lead to COVID-19 response measures that include a focus on programs and services accessible for the LGBTQ+ community.

A full copy of the Deep Divides report can be downloaded here.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that 23 percent of LGBTQ+ people surveyed for the Damien Center's assessment reported experiencing a decline in mental health. That was incorrect.  According to the report, 64 percent of the LGBTQ+ individuals surveyed said they experienced a decline in mental health due to COVID-19. They were 23 percent more likely than cisgender heterosexuals to have experienced a decline mental health.

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