National Civility Month
As children and youth return to in-person learning for the 2022 school year they can be exposed to triggers for mental health challenges, such as disrespect and bullying. National Civility Month is a reminder to treat others as one would wish to be treated. This is especially important in the face of bullying, particularly for youth who identify themselves as being part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Kindness and community are key components of improving the mental health of our sexual orientation and gender identity expression (SOGIE) youth. Many LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to suffer from mental health challenges when they experience bullying and intolerance, rejection from parents, rejection from friends and rejection from the community. According to the CDC, “for youth to thrive in schools and communities, they need to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported. A positive school climate has been associated with decreased depression, suicidal feelings, substance use, and unexcused school absences among LGBTQ+ students.” National Civility Month is the perfect opportunity to treat others the way one would like to be treated: with dignity, respect, and empathy.
How to Practice Civility
Civility recognizes the humanity of others. Practicing civility is a great way to engage your youth, connect with them and model what it means to be courteous and kind. There are several ways to practice civility with your youth, which includes but is not limited to:
- RESPECT: Treating your youth with courtesy and respect will strengthen your relationship with them. This includes but is not limited to respecting their preferred pronouns, respecting their gender expression, and empathizing with any mental health challenges they may be experiencing.
- SPREAD KINDNESS: Treat friends, family, and strangers with civility. By treating your youth with respect, both in private and public, your kindness will create a ripple effect on your local community.
- RAISE AWARENESS: Raising awareness of civility, especially with the LGBTQ+ community, will go a long way. Get involved with your youth’s school to make sure they do not tolerate bullying, have safe spaces for youth (such as clubs), and mental health professionals who specialize in the LGBTQ+ community.
National Civility Month does not have to end with August. By practicing civility all year round as a community, we can help decrease the alarming percentage of LGBTQ+ youth suffering from mental health challenges. As a civil community we can reduce the stigma against mental health, reduce the prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community, and make our youth feel loved and valued.
If you observe signs and symptoms of a mental health struggle in your child or teen, call our admissions team today for a free and confidential screening at (805) 366-4000. Camino a Casa offers mental health services at all levels of care – we’ll work together to find the right option for you.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. “LGBT Youth.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm.