Landmark study reflects the lives of LGBTQ individuals who consider suicide

Beyond the Carolinas

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Trevor Project released the results of its inaugural National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. The survey found that 39 percent of LGBTQ youth surveyed have seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered suicide. Nearly 1 in 5 LGBTQ youth in this study attempted suicide in the past 12 months, with nearly 1 in 3 transgender and non-binary youth having attempted.

The study also found that conversion therapy is impacting LGBTQ youth across the country and putting them at higher risk of negative mental health outcomes. Two out of every three LGBTQ youth report that someone attempted to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, with youth who have undergone conversion therapy more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not. Forty-two percent of LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy reported a suicide attempt in the last year, with 57 percent of transgender and non-binary youth who have undergone conversion therapy reporting a suicide attempt over the past 12 months.

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“Suicide is an ongoing public health crisis for young people in the U.S., especially among LGBTQ youth. Better understanding the mental health experiences of LGBTQ young people is a major step in addressing their significantly higher risk for attempting suicide,” said Amit Paley, CEO executive director of the organization. “The Trevor Project’s new data underscores the need for LGBTQ inclusive and life-affirming policies, environments, families, and communities — especially in support of transgender and non-binary youth. Together, we can ensure that LGBTQ young people know their lives have value, and that they are heard, loved, and never alone.”

The survey is the largest survey ever conducted on the mental health of LGBTQ youth. The survey included nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth respondents between the ages of 13 and 24 from every state across the nation.

The study found that rates of suicide attempts were twice as high among respondents who reported being discriminated against or physically threatened due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, compared to those who did not. Further, 76 percent of the respondents felt that recent politics impacted their mental health or sense of self.

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“It’s important to note that LGBTQ youth are not at higher risk of suicide because of their sexual orientation or gender identity — they are at a higher risk because they face harmful rejection and discrimination from friends, families and communities that can make them feel their lives are worth less than their straight or cisgender peers,” added Paley. “That is why it is so important that we work tirelessly to let LGBTQ youth know that they are beautiful as they are, that they are deserving of respect, and that they are not alone.”

“We believe this research can save lives,” said Dr. Amy Green, Trevor’s director of research. “This data will help The Trevor Project to continue to improve and expand our life-saving services for LGBTQ youth. It will also provide our team on the ground in legislatures across the country data they need to support what we know to be dangers associated with conversion therapy and other forms of discrimination and victimization. This report also highlights the need for increased education and training to prepare support networks to best help LGBTQ who experience thoughts of suicide. We plan to leverage these findings to help advocate for LGBTQ youth for years to come.”

info: thetrevorproject.org/help. bit.ly/2XdPdsl.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.

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