Suicide Rates in LGBTQ Teens and Young Adults

lgbtq youth - lockers

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.”

International Association for Suicide Prevention


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

UCSF Center for Excellence for Transgender Health

Human Rights Campaign, LGBT Cultural Competence

About monashattell

Mona Shattell, PhD, RN, FAAN is professor and chair of the department of community, systems, and mental health nursing in the College of Nursing at Rush University in Chicago. She is the Editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, and the author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. Her published work focuses on therapeutic relationships, various environments of care, and the mental and physical health of truckers. Dr. Shattell is an active social media user, content developer, and public thought leader. She has published op-eds in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Hill, Health Affairs Blog, Huffington Post, PBS, and others. She received a PhD in nursing from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, a Master of Science degree in nursing from Syracuse University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, also from Syracuse University.
This entry was posted in Join the discussion, LGBTQ youth, Mental Health, Resources, Suicide and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Suicide Rates in LGBTQ Teens and Young Adults

  1. Sue Dibble says:

    When I saw this article, I was hoping to see something specific about lesbians since the title was LGBTQ….but alas, we are still invisible even here. I would have been fine if it was titled Suicide and Transgendered folks (or something like that)…

  2. In addition to your summary, the links to resources are very helpful.

  3. Pingback: REPOST: Suicide Rates in LGBTQ Teens and Young Adults | ARROW

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