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LGBTQ+ Suicide Rates

Suicide is the elephant in the room that people don’t want to talk about. No one wants to think about someone they love ending their own life. It’s understandable, really, but the rate of LGBTQ youth that have considered suicide or commit suicide is alarming.

LGBTQIA+ youth seem more inclined to feel marginalized, depressed, and more likely to commit suicide that their straight, cis-gendered counterparts. These feelings are preventable if we as a community decide to stop marginalizing and bullying these individuals. By taking better care with our LGBTQ friends and neighbors, we can dramatically decrease the rate of suicides in this population

According to the Trevor Project, 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (ages 13-24) seriously consider suicide every year in the U.S. and at least one attempts every 45 seconds. People might wonder why LGBTQ youth are more inclined to commit suicide, and it’s not due to their identity. Rather, it’s due to the treatment of LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth are placed at a higher risk due to the way they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.

Intersectionality is an important topic to consider when thinking about the suicide rates of LGBTQ youth. The Trevor Project’s 2022 national survey found that LGBTQ youth of color reported higher rates of attempting suicide than their white peers in the past year. To compare, 12% of white LGBTQ youth surveyed attempted suicide, while 21% of Native LGBTQ youth and 19% of Black LGBTQ youth attempted suicide. This speaks volumes in highlighting the impact of historical and ongoing oppression inflicted on people of color.

Key factors for LGBTQ youth suicide included minority stress, rejection, lack of social support, lack of affirming places, physical harm, bullying (including cyber bullying), discrimination, and conversion therapy. All of these factors contribute to the rise in suicide rates in LGBTQ youth. It is important to keep these factors in mind as we watch/read the news and see the rise in legislation that goes against LGBTQ individuals. For more information regarding risk factors, please seek out the Trevor Project or ask one of our therapists for more information.

Affirming spaces and activities can make a huge difference in the lives of marginalized LGBTQIA+ youth.  Affirming care simply agrees that they are what they say they are (regarding gender), love who they love, and they have no need to change that. They are affirmed for who they are and not encouraged to change what they are unable to change, such as their sexual orientation.

As horrifying as it is to imagine someone you love committing suicide, there are protective factors that can help minimize the risk. These factors include social support and acceptance from peers and adults, affirming spaces, affirming activities (especially at school), and support of transgender and nonbinary youth. If you’re looking for a way to increase these protective factors in your life, start by creating an affirming space for your friend or family member. This could mean listening to their struggles or it could mean talking with your school officials to create affirming activities.

The bottom line is that supporting your LGBTQ friends and family members might save their life. This includes standing up for your friends, being a support system or a listening ear, and helping them when they’re in need. As we navigate the current onslaught of policies against LGBTQ individuals, it’s important to remind your friends or family members that they’re not alone in this fight. Your allyship and support mean the world to them, and you can help.

If you or someone you know is struggling and in immediate danger, please contact the suicide and crisis lifeline by dialing 988.

If you are struggling and would like to seek out an LGTBQ affirming therapist, please contact Mindsight Behavioral Health. We are here to help, and we accept you exactly how you are.

Shelby Case is a new therapist at Mindsight Louisville! Shelby's favorite things include spending time with her animals and her spouse, watching television (currently they are watching Big Brother), and taking road trips. When she isn't providing therapy to clients, she can be found playing video games (her favorite is The Sims 4) or spending too much money at a thrift store. Shelby's favorite color is green and her guilty pleasure is reality TV shows.

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