Medical and social scientific studies over the past two decades have shown that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among adolescents. Statistics revealed in a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association/Pediatrics Monday again confirmed that sexual minority individuals are at a much higher risk of suicide and attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers.
Dr. Esterdi Giacomo, Micheal Krausz, Ph.D., and Dr. Fabrizia Colmegna, the trio who conducted the study noted: “Our findings suggest that youths with non-heterosexual identity have a significantly higher risk of life-threatening behavior compared with their heterosexual peers. Public awareness is important, and a careful evaluation of supportive strategies (eg, support programs, counseling, and destigmatizing efforts) should be part of education and public health planning.”
Transgender youth were the most affected, followed by bisexual, gay and lesbian teens. The comprehensive study reviewed in-depth studies that examined nearly 2.5 million young people aged 12 to 20 across 20 countries.
The study also concluded that: “[…]studies within LGBTQ communities may have incorrect estimations because they are composed of people with higher self-consciousness about their sexual orientation and represent a place of aggregation and support. On the other hand, focusing on bullying may increase quantification because of a biased selection for the implication of an explicit risk factor.”
“This research highlights the need for increased support and acceptance of LGBTQ youth. Young LGBTQ people are at a higher risk for suicide attempts because of the public rejection they see and hear in the news, from their governments, and from their friends and families,” Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, said in a statement. “It’s important to remind LGBTQ youth that they are loved, never alone, and that their life has value.”
If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. TheTrevorProject.org. LGBT adults, as well as young people, can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. They have a special LGBT section: suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/lgbtq.
Additionally, trans individuals can contact the Oakland-based Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860 or translifeline.org. Their peer support hotline “is run by and for trans people. We’re available 7 am-1 am PST / 9 am-3 am CST / 10 am-4 am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.” The trans-led organization’s vision “is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid.”