Over the past 40 years, a strong pattern has emerged indicating that lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender populations exhibit an elevation in being at risk for suicidal behavior. This risk becomes a particular issue when we are talking about LGBTQ youth (10 - 24 years old). A combination of stressors can affect those in this population at this age range. These can include coming out to friends, families, and peers and the subsequent levels of reactions, bullying, and complex romantic relationships.
As reported by the CDC LGBTQ youth who attempt suicide are 4 - 6 times more likely to be hospitalized. LGBTQ youth are 3 - 4 times more likely to attempt suicide compared to their heterosexual peers.
Family reactions to “coming out” are incredibly important to LGBTQ youth. They have can have major mental health implications. An article in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing states that LGBTQ youth who come from highly rejecting families are up to 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection. (2010, Family Acceptance Project™ “Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults”) Likewise, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics has published a study that indicates that negative family reactions to a adolescent’s sexual orientation are associated with negative health outcomes in LGB young adults (Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics).
Please visit Family Acceptance Project for more information about the research that Caitlyn Ryan has been conducting over the last several years regarding acceptance within families.
According to The Trevor Project:
Discussions about suicide deaths often rely heavily on numbers and statistics. The following research based findings may be helpful in understanding the complexities of suicide ideation and behavior.
- A suicide attempt is not a strong predictor of completed suicide. Four out of five people (80%) who die by suicide are male. However, three out of every four people (75%) who make a suicide attempt are female.
- There is very little solid information available about suicide deaths among LGBT people. For this reason, be careful not to misrepresent data on suicide attempts by LGBT people as indicative of LGBT suicide deaths. The two are not the same.
- In U.S. surveys, lesbian, gay and bi adolescents and adults have two to six times higher rates of reported suicide attempts compared to comparable straight people.
- Surveys of transgender people consistently report markedly high rates of suicide attempts.
- Two key suicide risk factors for LGBT people are individual-level factors such as depression and experiences of stigma and discrimination, including anti-LGBT hostility, harassment, bullying and family rejection. There is growing evidence that the two factors are linked
- Allies Matter Video
- "Suicide Attempts Among Transgender and Non-Gender-Conforming Adults" from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute