PURPOSE The abrupt closure of universities across the U.S. in March 2020 may have sent some lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) college students home to unsafe or unaccepting families and environments . The objective of this study was to examine the mental health needs of LGBT college students in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic .
METHODS We fielded a rapid-response online survey in the spring of 2020 . We recruited 477 LGBT-identifying college students aged 18-25 years by contacting LGBT-serving organizations on 254 college campuses and through targeted social media advertising .
RESULTS Nearly half (45.7 %) of LGBT college students have immediate families that do not support or know their LGBT identity . Approximately 60% of sampled LGBT college students were experiencing psychological distress, anxiety, and depression during the pandemic .
CONCLUSIONS Health-care providers, college and university administrators, and campus counseling centers should take swift action to ensure that LGBT students receive mental health support during the pandemic.