Study finds an epidemic of suicide among LGBT youth

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Photo: The Gender Spectrum Collection

The political beliefs of other people are strongly linked to alarming suicide rates among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people, according to a nationwide survey of LGBT youth mental health.

The Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBT Youth Mental Health was conducted with over 34,000 respondents ages 13 to 24 from across the United States. It illustrated a mental health crisis among LGBT youth, who appear to be victimized by attitudes held by others.

Among the survey’s results from suicidal respondents, 76 percent said recent politics impacted their mental health or “sense of self.” Only 47 percent had gotten psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional. The survey also revealed that nearly 30 percent of young trans people had attempted suicide and 54 percent had contemplated suicide in the last year.

Approximately 36 percent of queer youth subjected to physical violence attempted suicide in the past year, and 22 percent of those who experienced some form of discrimination attempted suicide.

About 78 percent of trans and non-binary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity and 70 percent of LGBT youth reported discrimination due to their sexual orientation.

Around 67 percent of all respondents claimed that someone had encouraged them to try and change their sexual orientation or gender identity through some sort of so-called conversion effort.

While only 5 percent of respondents actually attended a conversion program, 57 percent of transgender and non-binary youth who had undergone conversion efforts also reported a suicide attempt in the last year. LGBT advocates hope both percentages will drop as more states ban such programs for minors.

The survey also found that large majorities of respondents had not “come out” to their parents, teachers or doctors. A majority also stressed the need for LGBT-supportive online environments and crisis hotlines like one offered by The Trevor Project.

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