Using data from the 2015–2017 Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the Trevor Project released a new report about the health of bisexual youth in the United States.
On the whole, they found bisexual youth reported higher rates of suicide ideation, bullying, and other negative experiences.
In the CDC’s data, as re-stated in the report, 7% of youth identified as bisexual, compared to 2% as gay or lesbian and 4% as not sure.
Between their fellow peers in the LGBTI community, and heterosexual peers, there exists a disparity. Researchers found this both in mental health and victimization.
What they experience
Overall, bisexual youth reported higher rates of various mental health struggles than all their peers.
When asked if they felt sad or hopeless, ever seriously considered suicide, or attempted suicide, bisexual youth had the highest affirmative responses.
A majority of bisexual youth (66%) reported feeling hopeless or sad. In comparison, 27% of straight youth reported this, as well as 49% of gay/lesbian youth.
When it comes to suicide ideation, 48% of bisexual youth have ‘seriously considered it’. 27% have actually attempted suicide.
Among gay and lesbian youth, these numbers are 37% and 19%.
Further, bisexual youth also have the highest rates of reporting bullying (on school and online). They also report the highest rates of experiencing ‘forced’ sexual intercourse.
21% say they’ve been forced into sexual intercourse, and another 36% and 30% say they’ve been bullied at school and online, respectively.
Stigma around bisexuality
As Amy Green, Director of Research for The Trevor Project, noted, bisexual youth are ‘more likely to experience victimization, depressed mood, and suicide attempts than their straight, lesbian, and gay peers’.
‘These disparities are likely related to increased minority stress faced by bisexual youth who may be stigmatized by both straight and gay/lesbian communities,’ she continued.
There is stigma surrounding the bisexual community based on negative stereotypes and myths. Some of these myths include bisexual people not being able to make up their mind or being promiscuous.
Green said: ‘Enhancing youth coping skills and social support can mitigate the link between stigmatization and negative outcomes, which is why The Trevor Project’s crisis services operates 24/7 to provide that support to bisexual youth as well as all LGBTQ youth in crisis.’
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. Counseling is also available via chat every day atTheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting 678-678.