Nearly 2 million LGBTQ youths ages 13 to 24 in the United States consider suicide each year, according to research released Thursday by the Trevor Project.
Using data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its own National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, Trevor Project researchers determined that LGBTQ teens were particularly at risk. Those 13 to 18 were approximately twice as likely to contemplate suicide as those 19 to 24.
Amy E. Green, the nonprofit’s director of research, told NBC News that although these numbers are harrowing, they are “conservative estimates.”
“These numbers are the bare minimum they could be because we used a conservative method to conclude our estimates,” Green said. “The fact that we still arrived at these huge astonishing numbers shows that this is a serious health problem.”
According to the mental health survey, released this month, there are multiple factors that can negatively affect the well-being of queer adolescents — the foremost being lack of acceptance.
More than 70 percent of respondents reported experiencing discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and two-thirds of respondents stated that someone has tried to convince them to change those identities.
Though previous research has revealed that LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience thoughts of suicide, Green said these latest figures “provide additional context to just how widespread this problem is.”
A separate research released by the Trevor Project on Thursday offered some positive news, however. LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult in their lives were 40 percent less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year.
“I hope this research will inspire the country to come together to change policies on the state and federal levels that affect LGBTQ youth’s lives, like ending the harmful practice of conversion therapy, as well as inspire other researchers who are looking into this area to study the factors and find solutions,” Green said. “We also need to support organizations that are doing the work to launch anti-bullying and suicide prevention efforts.”