Latinx LGBTQ+ Youth Have High Suicide Risk, Other Challenges: Trevor Project
Author: Trudy Ring
Latinx LGBTQ+ young people face mental health challenges at a higher rate than both their straight cisgender Latinx peers and non-Latinx LGBTQ+ youth, according to a new study from the Trevor Project.
“LGBTQ young people who are of Latino/a, Latiné, Latinx, or Hispanic origin, henceforth referred to as Latinx, hold multiple marginalized identities,” the report begins. “This can increase their susceptibility to negative experiences based on both their race or ethnicity and their sexual orientation or gender identity. This intersection of identities may also act as a protective factor, allowing them to draw strength from multiple identities and sources of pride. However, research has largely failed to quantitatively explore their experiences.”
The new report seeks to do just that, using data from a national sample of nearly 6,900 Latinx LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 to 24 who participated in the Trevor Project’s 2023 National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People.
Among the key findings was that 44 percent of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 53 percent of Latinx transgender and nonbinary young people, compared to 32 percent of Latinx cisgender LGBQ young people.
Also, 16 percent of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people attempted suicide in the past year, including 21 percent of those who are trans or nonbinary, compared to 9 percent of Latinx cisgender LGBQ young people. Seventy percent of Latinx LGBTQ+ youth reported having symptoms of anxiety in the past two weeks, and 59 percent reported having symptoms of depression in that period.
All those rates of mental health challenges, including suicide attempts, were higher than those reported in the Trevor Project’s broader LGBTQ+ youth sample.
“In addition to risk factors that all LGBTQ young people are frequently exposed to (e.g., anti-LGBTQ discrimination and victimization), Latinx LGBTQ young people also experience stressors unique to their experience as Latinx individuals in the U.S., such as fears associated with immigration policies and race- and immigration-based discrimination,” the study notes.
For instance, 39 percent reported discrimination based on their race or ethnicity in the past year, and 34 percent said they worried about themselves or someone in their family being detained or deported due to immigration policies. Only 5 percent of non-Latinx LGBTQ+ youth reported the latter worries.
There were also experiences with discrimination or physical threats because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, plus pressures to change, which often came from a parent.
But parental acceptance, affirmation in school settings, and pride in one’s identity helped combat mental health challenges, including suicide risk. Latinx LGBTQ+ youth who had access to affirming homes and schools had lower rates of suicide attempts than those who did not, and respect for one’s pronouns by people in their homes improved outcomes for those who are trans or nonbinary. And those who feel that their race/ethnicity is an important part of who they are had 24 percent lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year.
Related: Mental Health Crisis Among LGBTQ+ Youth Continues — But It Doesn’t Have To
There was significant diversity in the Trevor Project’s sample of Latinx LGBTQ+ youth. Twenty-eight percent were of Mexican heritage, 5 percent Puerto Rican, and 2 percent Cuban, with others representing Colombian, Spanish, Venezuelan, Guatemalan, Dominican, and Brazilian origins. Twenty-nine percent identified as bisexual, 20 percent pansexual, 15 percent lesbian, 11 percent gay, 11 percent queer, and 9 percent asexual. Fifty-four percent were transgender or nonbinary.
The report concludes with a call for inclusion and cultural competency. “Stakeholders must confront both systemic barriers to Latinx LGBTQ young people’s mental health and well-being as well as work toward LGBTQ inclusion in existing Latinx mental health frameworks,” it states. “Given the importance and protectiveness of culture and family, intervention efforts must be culturally salient, available in multilingual formats, and mindful of the impact that immigration policies can have on Latinx LGBTQ young people’s mental health.”
If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.
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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring