New research shows how LGBTQ persons have a high prevalence rate of suicide and suicide attempts, and this is especially true for transgender teens and young adults.
A recently published study by researchers from the University of Auckland found that almost half of the transgender high school students in their study had experienced depression and had attempted to hurt themselves.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law recently reported findings from a study of suicide attempts by transgender and gender non-conforming adults, which used data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. These researchers found that suicide rates (45%) were highest among those in the sample who were ages 18-24. The authors also reported that vulnerability toward suicide was likely caused by mental health problems, and discrimination, violence, and rejection by family/friends. Of those participants who experienced discrimination, 60% said that health care providers had refused to treat them, and 50% were bullied at school.
Luckily, there is hope. One intervention for teens that shows promise is gay straight alliances and anti-homophobic policies in high schools.
A new study conducted and published by nurse researchers from the University of British Columbia found that Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) decreased suicide rates in gay and heterosexual kids in high schools that had GSAs and anti-homophobic policies. This is good news.
Where is the good news for LGBTQ adults, especially transgender adults who experience discrimination from health care providers? More dialogue, research, and training is needed. That is for sure.
Here is a list of some resources to learn more about LGBTQ youth and suicide, and transgender adults and health care.
Resources about Gay Straight Alliances and LGBTQ Youth and Suicide
Gay Straight Alliance Network helps local GSAs network with one another.
The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ persons age 13-24.
StopBullying provides information and resources, and a blog about bullying.
Centre for Suicide Prevention in Alberta, Canada has provided a resource toolkit titled “Gay and Suicidal: Sexual and Gender Minorities and Suicide.”
Resources about Transgender Health
National Center for Transgender Equality – focus on health care access and health policy
Transgender Health Resources from the American Medical Student Association