family-focused therapy, lgbtq youth, major depressive disorder, relationship-focused therapy, sexual minority youth


Greater tolerance and understanding of homosexuality, transgenderism, and other forms of gender nonconformity have sparked an increased effort to reach out to and help sexual minorities (i.e., groups whose sexual identity, orientation, or practices differ from cisgender heterosexuality), especially those who experience mental health challenges. Despite immense progress in society, deeply rooted social stigma, prejudice, and discrimination have often left sexual minorities feeling bullied, ostracized, and isolated, which tends to reinforce a host of negative mental health outcomes, such as increased risk of major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidality (Hatchel et al., 2018). While mental health clinicians have become increasingly aware of hardships faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals (particularly youth), they have yet to implement customized therapeutic approaches that cater to the unique circumstances and experiences of LGBTQ individuals (Painter et al., 2018). Treating depression in sexual minorities the same as depression in cisgender heterosexuals tends to be less effective and should be replaced by a more social, relationshipfocused approach (Willging, Salvador, & Kano; Painter et al., 2018). Future research should focus on identifying and testing novel therapeutic orientations in an effort to help LGBTQ individuals with MDD to develop and strengthen meaningful relationships in their lives.