Earlier this month, actor Elliot Page came out as transgender. Page, the star of the popular Netflix superhero series “Umbrella Academy” and a 2008 Oscar-nominee for his performance in “Juno,” immediately received a cascade of support and well-wishes on social media from friends, fans, family and co-workers.

But in sharing his story, Page tempered his elation at “finally [loving] who I am enough to pursue my authentic self” with harsh truths about the challenges that transgender people endure for simply being themselves.

“My joy is real, but it is also fragile,” Page wrote. He confessed to being fearful of hate, violence and discrimination, noting the high rate at which transgender people are murdered.

Page also spoke directly to how mass media fuels anti-transgender sentiment and the devastating consequence those messages have on transgender people. “To all those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility towards the transgender community: You have blood on your hands,” he wrote. “You unleash a fury of vile and demeaning rage that lands on the shoulders of the transgender community, a community in which 40% of transgender adults report attempting suicide. Enough is enough.”

Page’s critiques of the media ring true for so many transgender people. My colleagues and I recently completed a study finding that frequent exposure to negative depictions of transgender people in the media — on television, in advertising and in newspapers and magazines, as well as in signage like lawn signs and billboards — was significantly associated with clinical symptoms of depression, anxiety, global psychological distress and post-traumatic stress disorder among the 545 transgender participants sampled.

For a sense of how pervasive such messages are, nearly 98% of participants in our study reported having seen negative depictions of transgender people in the media in the previous 12 months. The percentage of participants who reported seeing negative depictions of transgender people either in print media or on television were both roughly 94%, and 83% of participants reported having seen negative depictions of transgender people in advertisements and signage.

More frequent exposure to negative media depictions was associated with an 18% increased odds of being depressed, 25% increased odds of PTSD, 26% increased odds of experiencing anxiety and 28% increased odds of experiencing global psychological distress.

These results are not surprising. An extensive body of research looking at other marginalized communities demonstrates a connection between negative media depictions of stigmatized groups and poor mental health. For example, the stigma associated with mental illness can cause people with schizophrenia to isolate and even avoid seeking treatment for their condition. Another study found that media portrayals of people with mental illness both produces and perpetuates stigma by showing them as ‘‘peculiar and different, but also as dangerous.’’

Likewise, research has found that lesbian, gay and bisexual, or "LGB," people are similarly adversely affected by negative media depictions of their lives. One study of LGB adults, for example, found that exposure to negative TV advertisements from marriage equality campaigns evoked feelings of stress and sadness.

While negative media messages about transgender people will no doubt persist, there has been a meaningful effort on the part of TV and filmmakers to improve the representation of transgender people in the media. Where transgender characters of days gone by were most often presented as victims and villains, prime time TV is now home to Supergirl sidekick Nia Nal, the first transgender superhero, and the complex, empowered transgender and gender diverse characters of Pose. The fact that all of these characters are portrayed by transgender actors allows transgender people to see themselves reflected in the media while simultaneously exposing cisgender (non-transgender) people to positive depictures on people whoa are gender diverse.

We need to see a lot more representation like this across our entire media landscape. Despite the growing visibility of fully realized, well-adjusted transgender characters on TV and film, and a news media that is increasingly more sensitive to the experiences of transgender people, damaging depictions persist — in last year’s South Park episode mocking transgender athletes, or internationally acclaimed author J. K. Rowling’s new novel depicting a cross-dressing serial killer, or ‘‘fact-based’’ programs like Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which routinely denigrates transgender people and issues.

Increasing positive representations of transgender people in the media can counteract the harms of negative media messages in two ways. First, positive media depictions can help increase the self-esteem of transgender people and reduce internalized stigma. Second, affirming depictions of transgender lives can help cisgender people develop more positive attitudes toward transgender people, leading to fair and more compassionate behavior toward their transgender family members, neighbors and co-workers.

Showing the diversity, beauty and strength of the transgender community across all mediums — now that’s a Hollywood ending that we can get behind.

Jaclyn White Hughto, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Public Health, is lead author of the study “ Negative Transgender-Related Media Messages Are Associated Eith Adverse Mental Health Outcomes In A Multi-State Study Of Transgender Adults.”