SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good Things Utah) — As a therapist, Cassidy Duhadway from Purple Sky Counseling knows firsthand the importance of supporting LGBTQIA youth when they come out. She joined us on the show to share her insights on how to be a supportive friend, family member, or caregiver for those who may be struggling with their identity.

One of the biggest ways to support a young adult or teen when they come out is to be respectful of their pronouns and names, and not to call it a “sin” or a “phase.” It’s also important to be open to the fact that their sexuality could change over time.

Learning how to be supportive when a teen comes out to you, lets the other person feel loved and understood. Additionally, studies have shown that LGBTQIA youth who have supportive adults in their lives have a decrease in suicide rates by 50%. This is a huge indication of how important it is for these individuals to know that they have someone who is a safe enough person to be more themselves around.

Duhadway understands that it can be difficult to navigate your own internal dialogue and feelings when a loved one comes out to you. That’s why she recommends seeking help through individual therapy, support groups such as Purple Sky Counseling, and finding time to educate yourself in your own time.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is different,m and it’s okay to not have all the answers, but it is essential to have a support system to help navigate the process. With the right support, LGBTQIA youth can feel loved, accepted, and safe to be their true selves.