A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has shown that LGBT+ youth are more than three times as likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts.
The AAP used Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance data from six states that collected data on sexual orientation, and four that collected data on sexual contacts, between 2009 and 2017.
Although the number of suicide attempts among sexual minority people under the age of 18 had decreased over the eight-year period, the study showed in 2017 they remained more than three times as likely to try to take their own lives.
In 2009, 26.7 per cent of queer youth reported a suicide attempt within the last year, compared with 6.3 per cent of straight young people. In 2017, it remained as high as 20.1 per cent, compared with 5.9 per cent of straight youth.
It also found that young people did not necessarily need to identify as a sexual minority to have an increased risk of suicide attempts.
Those who had experience same-sex sexual contact within the last year were still more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who had only had opposite-sex sexual contact.
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The authors concluded that “more research is needed, particularly on policies, training practices and interventions to promote sexual minority health in education and health care institutions”.
There is an increasing amount of research on LGBT+ suicide and suicide attempts.
Earlier this year, a University of Pittsburgh study confirmed that transgender adolescents “had high risk for suicidal ideation and attempt”.
Researchers surveyed 1,148 transgender teens and 972 cisgender teens aged 14 to 18 across the United States, and found that trans teens “twice as likely” to attempt suicide compared to cisgender, heterosexual teens.
Another study, published in 2019, found that “transgender people who are exposed to conversion efforts anytime in their lives have more than double the odds of attempting suicide compared with those who have never experienced efforts by professionals to convert their gender identity”.
However, further research has shown that when LGBT+ young people are accepted and their identities are embraced, their risk of attempting suicidesignificantly decreases.
If you are struggling with your mental health and are based in the US, you can contact The Trevor Project Lifeline for free on 1-866-488-7386 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
In the UK, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or call the LGBT Foundation helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30 (open Monday to Friday between 10am and 6pm).