Gender Dysphoria can be defined as ‘when a person’s emotional and psychological identity doesn’t match their gender assigned at birth’. It is a very challenging condition that affects both transgender and nonbinary people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one million people in the U.S. identify as transgender. That’s about 0.6 percent of the adult population.
In April, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital in Marysville launched a transgender and nonbinary program with a strong emphasis on clinical and family support. It has a particular focus on connecting patients’ families and providing resources and support to enable them to be a part of the treatment process.
“When you incorporate the family, and collaborate with parents early on, it really helps gain a positive outcome to treatment,” says Smokey Point CEO Fredericka Ford. “Because clinical treatment only lasts for a short period of time, we try to equip families with tools that will help them post treatment as well.”
Transgender and nonbinary people face countless challenges—and through it all, they have continued to fight for visibility, share their stories and organize for lived and legal equality. Transgender and non-binary people are our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, our family, and our loved ones.
“Transgender youth face a huge amount of trauma, so we encourage parents to educate themselves to enable their child to trust them with their thoughts and feelings. At the same time, we understand that parents go through a transition of their own, suffering loss and grief, and we need to help them understand and process.”
Family support can save lives
According to the Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 45 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. The report also found that LGBTQ youth who felt high social support from their family reported attempting suicide at less than half the rate of those who felt low or moderate social support.
With a strong team of medical professionals and licensed clinicians, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital gender dysphoria programs are unique in Washington state and throughout the country. They are in-patient, partial hospital programs, held on site for six hours a day, five days a week.
“At any given moment a large percentage of our youth population identify as non-binary or transgender, and we want to provide them with a safe place to process what they are going through,” says Ford.