Trevor Project: 15% of LGBTQ Youth Attempted Suicide in Past Year

A new report from The Trevor Project also found 40% of LGBTQ youth have “seriously considered” attempting suicide in the last 12 months.

Trevor Project: 15% of LGBTQ Youth Attempted Suicide in Past Year

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 34, and survey results released yesterday by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization, found the LGBTQ youth community is disproportionately affected.

The 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health polled 40,000 LGBTQ people between the ages of 13 and 24 from Dec. 2, 2019, to March 31, 2020, on topics affecting mental health, including discrimination, housing instability, barriers to mental health care, and the prevalence of conversion therapy — the practice of trying to change a person’s sexual or gender identity.

According to the survey, 40% of LGBTQ youth and more than 50% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported having “seriously considered” suicide in the past 12 months. Approximately 15% of respondents said they did attempt suicide in the past year.

In addition, 68% of all respondents reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, 55% reported symptoms of major depressive disorder, and 48% reported engaging in self-harm.

LGBTQ youth who reported facing greater rejection, violence and discrimination also reported higher rates of suicide attempts, reports NBC News.

For transgender and nonbinary youth respondents, having their identity and pronouns respected by “all or most” people was associated with a greatly reduced risk of a suicide attempt. In fact, those who reported having pronouns respected by all or most attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected.

However, only 20% of transgender and nonbinary youth said their gender identity is respected by “all or most” people in their lives.

“The simple act of acceptance and letting kids express their identity can be incredibly powerful,” said Amy Green, the study lead and director of research at The Trevor Project.

The survey revealed the need for safe spaces for queer communities, especially its younger members, since nearly half of respondents said they wanted but could not get mental health care in the past year, with affordability being the strongest barrier. Another 40% reported they were unable to receive care due directly to concerns with parental permission and nearly 50% of transgender and nonbinary youth didn’t receive wanted mental health care due to concerns related to the LGBTQ competence of providers.

Further, 60% of participants said those close to them have tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, with 35% of those respondents indicating that person was a parent or caregiver.

The survey also found that 86% of respondents reported having one person who strongly supports them as an LGBTQ person. Those who have a supportive person in their life reported lower rates of suicide attempts overall.

Additional findings include:

  • 1 in 3 reported they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ identity
  • Only 13% of youth who reported high levels of support from family, friends, or a special person reported attempting suicide in the past year compared to 22% of those with lower support
  • 29% of LGBTQ youth have experienced homelessness, run away or been kicked out, and more than 50% of transgender and nonbinary youth report being kicked out or running away
  • 10% of LGBTQ youth reported undergoing conversion therapy with 78% reporting it happened when they were under the age of 18
  • Those who experienced conversion therapy attempted suicide at more than twice the rate of those who did not
  • 86% of LGBTQ youth said recent politics have negatively impacted their well-being
  • Over 80% of LGBTQ youth said celebrities who are LGBTQ positively impact how they feel about being LGBTQ

To find out how you can get involved or for more information on available resources, visit The Trevor Project’s website.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional information. 

About the Author

Contact:

Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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