How to Help Your LGBTQIA+ Teen Heal From Childhood Trauma

Young people who identify as LGBTQIA+ have a higher risk of experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma. Professional mental health treatment can give teens the support and skills they need to heal. As such, children can recover from the effects of trauma if they have access to effective treatment services. According to, nearly 50% “of LGBTQ youth reported they wanted counseling from a mental health professional.” Havenwood Academy offers residential treatment programs for LGBTQIA+ youth struggling with mental health issues. 

LGBTQIA+ Teens and Early Childhood Trauma

Personalized residential treatment is one of the most effective ways to help LGBTQIA+ teens recover from early childhood trauma and mental health issues, especially those caused by experiencing stigma because of their identity. Children who have difficulty coping with everyday stressors can benefit from individualized mental health care. 

Havenwood Academy offers the following treatments for teens struggling with trauma: 

  • Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) 
  • Brainspotting
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Talk therapy 
  • Experiential therapy 
  • Neurofeedback 

Adolescents and teens often feel more comfortable discussing certain subjects with others who share their life experiences. LGBTQIA+ youth who identify as female will benefit from interacting with peers at our treatment facility. Our programs give them an opportunity to heal surrounded by peers. Strong social bonds often develop over the course of treatment and enhance the effectiveness of our recovery programs. 

Transgender Teens and Suicidal Ideations 

Some teens struggle with more severe mental health symptoms. Transgender youth with a history of trauma have a much higher risk of experiencing suicidal ideations and related mental health issues. According to the previously mentioned article by, approximately a third of all people who identify as transgender have attempted suicide at least once. 

Intrusive suicidal thoughts and self-harming behaviors are common side effects of untreated mental health conditions. Foster and adopted children who identify as transgender should be regularly screened by a mental health professional for depression and other mental health disorders. Early intervention and residential treatment provide transgender teens with the tools they need to cope with stress.

Risk Factors for Adopted and Foster Teens Who Identify as LGBTQIA+

Adopted and foster teens who identify as LGBTQIA+ have an increased risk of many behavioral and health issues, including: 

  • Substance misuse 
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Lack of access to gender-affirming care 
  • Emotional abuse or neglect 
  • Relationship issues 
  • Delayed academic and social development 
  • Anxiety, depression, or other mental health symptoms 
  • Malnutrition due to neglect 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “some LGB youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience negative health and life outcomes.” Regular physical and mental health checkups can protect LGBTQIA+ youth from potential long-term side effects of mental and physical health issues. 

How Trauma Effects Development

Trauma can affect the mental, emotional, academic, and social development of LGBTQIA+ teens. A few possible long-term side effects include: 

  • Lower self-esteem
  • Increased risk of misusing substances or engaging in unsafe behaviors 
  • Higher risk of developing a mental health disorder 
  • Mood and emotional instability 
  • Reduced overall health 

Havenwood Academy supports LGBTQIA+ adolescents and teens who have experienced early childhood trauma or ACEs. We use a wide range of treatment modalities to ensure children have access to the help they need to heal. Families are encouraged to get involved in their child’s recovery through family therapy and other family support services. Parental acceptance of a child’s self-identity can decrease their risk of developing mental health issues. 

How to Support Your LGBTQIA+ Child 

Some of the ways parents can support their LGBTQIA+ child include: 

  • Allowing them to wear clothing that fits their identity 
  • Encouraging them to express themselves and explore their self-identity 
  • Using preferred pronouns and name
  • Providing access to gender-affirming resources and services 
  • Actively listening and accommodating their needs 
  • Collaborating with mental health professionals to ensure a safe and comfortable home environment 

Decreasing Risks for LGBTQIA+ Teens 

The team at Havenwood is passionate about decreasing risks for LGBTQIA+ youth. We educate families about how to provide adequate support to children who identify as LGBTQIA+. Our facilities also offer educational services to ensure LGBTQIA+ children have the resources they need to succeed academically. Havenwood Academy accommodates a diverse range of teens who identify as female or nonbinary. Youth attending our programs learn all the skills they need to successfully build a healthy self-identity and sense of self-worth. 

The Importance of Social Connections

Social interactions and support ensure children feel heard, understood, and valued. According to The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel A. Van der Kolk, “[S]ocial support is the most powerful protection against becoming overwhelmed by stress and trauma.” Children who need treatment for mental health issues can benefit from participating in residential care, where they have the opportunity to form healthy connections with others. The care team at Havenwood Academy ensures that all program participants experience positive peer interactions that empower, encourage, and uplift each of them.

Teens who identify as LGBTQIA+ have a higher risk of developing mental health issues due to childhood trauma. Early intervention and professional treatment provide the best outcomes for LGBTQIA+ youth with a history of adverse childhood experiences. You can protect your teen from the long-term effects of trauma by ensuring they get the help they need to heal. Havenwood Academy provides residential mental health treatment for LGBTQIA+ youth who identify as female. Our care team encourages those in our programs to embrace diversity. To learn more about our treatment program and services, call us today at (435) 586-2500. We can help your child recover from the effects of childhood trauma and show them healthy ways to express their self-identity.


Think Havenwood Might Be For You?

We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.