by Deven JenningsSep 21, 2023
LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide
*The Trevor Project (2021) has estimated that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13-24 seriously consider suicide each year in the US and at least one suicide attempt occurs every 45 seconds.
*Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10–24 year-olds.
*LGBTQ youth are at significantly higher risk for suicide risk: more than four times as likely to attempt suicide and nearly three times more likely to consider suicide compared to cisgender/heterosexual youth.
*The increasing number of anti-LGBTQ legislation in the US has correlated with increasing rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts. In 2023, over 520 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures.
*In August 2023, the Canadian government issued a travel advisory warning for LGBTQ travelers coming to the US because of anti-LGBTQ legislation.
*Protective factors for LGBTQ youth suicide include:
*Having at least one accepting and affirming adult
*Experiencing high social support from family
*Living in an LGBTQ-supportive community
*Having safe spaces in school settings
As we reflect on the importance of Suicide Awareness month, it is vital that we turn our attention to minority populations that disproportionally are impacted by mental health outcomes. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds. LGBTQ+ youth are at significantly higher risk for suicide compared to cisgender, heterosexual youth. Queer youth are three times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and four times as likely to attempt suicide. One key factor in this trend is ongoing minority stressors, including the surge of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the US. In 2023, over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in state legislatures. In fact, in August 2023, the Canadian government issues a travel advisory warning for LGBTQ+ travelers coming to the US based on these laws. The Trevor Project, a US based LGBTQ+ advocacy group, estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 13-24 seriously consider suicide each year and at least one suicide attempt occurs every 45 seconds.
To combat these rising suicide rates among queer youth, the Trevor project has identified key protective factors. LGBTQ+ youth have lower rates of suicide and improved mental health outcomes 1) when they have at least one accepting and affirming adult in their life, 2) when they have high social support from immediate family members, 3) when the live in LGBTQ-supportive communities, and 4) when they have safe spaces in school settings. In short, improving LGBTQ+ mental health and decreasing suicide rates requires family and community engagement. We all play a role in creating communities where all people feel safe and included.
*For LGBTQ youth experiencing suicidal ideation, the following resources are available:
*If you require emergency support or assistance, please reach out to the available support networks:
- The National Suicide Hotline in the US (dial 988 in the US)
- The Trevor Project (dial 866-488-7386 or text 678-678)
- SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline (dial 877-360-5428 in the US)
- The Trans Lifeline (dial 877-565-8860 in the US or dial 877-330-6366 in Canada)
- Crisis Services Canada (dial 833-456-4566 or text 45645)
- Kids Help Phone (dial 800-668-6868 – providing services in French/English/Arabic)
- Additional Canadian services can be found on https://itgetsbettercanada.org/get-help/
- Additional US services can be found on https://afsp.org/lgbtq-crisis-and-support-resources#lgbtq-crisis-hotlines