Doctors and Medical Groups Urge Focus on Mental Health for Gender-Confused Children


In a significant move, over 100 medical professionals and organizations have signed the "Doctors Protecting Children Declaration," calling for a shift in focus towards addressing the mental health needs of children experiencing gender dysphoria. The declaration, spearheaded by the conservative American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), emphasizes the importance of psychotherapy over "gender-affirming" interventions such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries.

During a press conference held in Washington, D.C. on June 6, Dr. Jill Simons, the executive director of ACPeds, stressed that the current protocols promoted by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) are not a consensus within the medical community.

She highlighted concerns about the long-term risks associated with these interventions and advocated for mental health evaluations and counseling as the first line of treatment for gender-confused children​.

The declaration points to recent developments in Europe where countries like Sweden and the UK have paused or restricted gender-affirming treatments for minors due to insufficient evidence of their long-term benefits and potential harm. These nations have shifted towards addressing underlying mental health issues as a more cautious and evidence-based approach​.

Medical professionals supporting the declaration argue that minors are often unable to give truly informed consent to life-altering medical procedures due to their developing brains and susceptibility to peer pressure. Dr. Andre Van Mol, a family physician, stated that the natural course of gender dysphoria often resolves by adulthood without medical intervention, reinforcing the need for a watchful waiting approach coupled with mental health support​​.

This push for a mental health-focused approach comes amidst growing legislative efforts in the US to regulate gender-affirming care for minors.

Some states have enacted laws restricting such treatments, citing concerns over the irreversible nature of these medical interventions and their long-term implications​.

The debate over the appropriate treatment for gender dysphoria in children continues to be a contentious issue, with major medical organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics supporting gender-affirming care when administered appropriately. However, the signatories of the "Doctors Protecting Children Declaration" are calling for a reevaluation of these practices to ensure the well-being and safety of young patients​.


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