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 is Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development in the College of Science and Health, and Professor in the School of Nursing at DePaul University. The College of Science and Health at DePaul University is comprised of 8 departments (health sciences, psychology, STEM studies, biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and mathematics), 1 school (nursing), and 4 centers (STEM Center, Quantitative Reasoning Center, Center for Family and Community Services, and the Center for Community Research). The college currently has 150 full-time faculty members, 2700 undergraduate students and 725 graduate students, and $15 million in research funding. In her role as Associate Dean for Research, Dr. Shattell promotes research in all departments, schools, and centers in the college; she enhances the culture and capacity of the college to support scientific inquiry, supports and mentors tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, and promotes student research. In addition to her position as Associate Dean, she also serves as the PI of mental health services research teams and as board member for several community non-profit mental health advocacy organizations. She is Associate Editor of Advances in Nursing Science and Issues in Mental Health Nursing, a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, and the author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. She has participated in several fellowship programs: she is a former Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project, which is a media fellowship program that develops thought leaders from traditionally underrepresented groups; she participated in the Sigma Theta Tau International Mentored Leadership Development Program, and post-doctoral K30 Clinical Research Training Program through NHLBI. She is active in a number of professional organizations and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She is also a member of the American Nurses Association, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Southern Nursing Research Society, Midwest Nursing Research Society, Sigma Theta Tau International, and the International Academy of Nursing Editors. She serves on numerous community boards of mental health-related service and advocacy organizations. Prior to joining the faculty at DePaul University, she was tenured Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 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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