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World Suicide Prevention Day: LGBTQ+ Groups Raise Awareness

Author: Alex Cooper

September 10 marks World Suicide Prevention Day. In the midst of ongoing attacks against the LGBTQ+ community through rhetoric and laws, LGBTQ+ rights groups are raising awareness on the mental health challenges queer people face.

LGBTQ+ youth face a significant risk of suicide. While suicide is already the second leading cause of death among youth between the ages of 10-24, they are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-LGBTQ+ youth.

Over 1.8 million queer youth seriously consider suicide. One attempts suicide every 45 seconds, according to estimates by the LGBTQ+ mental health organization the Trevor Project. Almost half of queer youth have considered suicide in the last year. More than half of trans and nonbinary youth have.

According to the Human Rights Campaign’s 2023 Youth Survey Report, more than half (55 percent) of LGBTQ+ youth, and 60 percent of transgender and gender-expansive youth, screened positive for depression, and two-thirds of LGBTQ+ youth (63.5 percent), and transgender and gender-expansive youth (68.2 percent), screened positive for anxiety.

Both the Trevor Project and HRC found that support from family drastically reduces depression or suicide ideation. Affirming relationships and spaces, like schools, can help lower rates of LGBTQ+ young people attempting suicide.

HRC also noted that participating in school sports can have positive effects on youth, LGBTQ+ or not. Bans on trans youth participating in sports teams that match their gender identity then take away those benefits from them. Half of the U.S. has laws in place banning that participation.

The attacks on gender-affirming care are also putting undue stress on many. State bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth are having a negative effect on all LGBTQ+ people, youth and adults alike, according to data from Community Marketing Insight’s 17th Annual LGBTQ+ Community Survey, cosponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and others.

Nearly eight in 10 LGBTQ+ adults report feeling less safe as a result of gender-affirming care bans, and nearly half report that these bans impact the physical and/or mental health of themselves or their loved ones.

Researchers found in a recent study out of Australia that hormone therapy significantly reduced suicidal thoughts, depression, and gender dysphoria among those treated with testosterone who were seeking masculinization.

In a release, HRC paid tribute to Henry Berg-Brousseau, a trans employee who died by suicide in December 2022.

“We are living in a state of emergency and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has real-life consequences beyond discriminatory laws and policies,” said Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “To be clear, LGBTQ+ people are not inherently more prone to suicide. But because of discrimination and stigma, our community’s risk is much higher than non-LGBTQ people. This National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, we are thinking of our colleague and friend Henry, who died by suicide last December and whose death left an open wound in our family that will never fully heal. For those who are struggling, please know that help is out there and the world is better with you in it.”

HRC shared the below resources for those struggling with or those who know someone who is struggling with mental health concerns.

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. 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: Alex Cooper

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