Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Youth and Suicide
The Suicide Prevention Program does not provide counseling services. If you are thinking about suicide or hurting yourself, or if someone you know is seriously thinking about suicide, please seek help. Monday through Friday from 8-5, call Counseling Services at 269-387-1850. After hours, call (800) 273-TALK (8255). This National Suicide Prevention hotline is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and is answered locally.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 911!
- LBGT Youth do not kill themselves because they are gay. Most LGBT youth consider suicide in response to bullying, discrimination, homophobia, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, violence, gender nonconformity, low self-esteem, and societal and family rejection.
- When compared to heterosexual males and females, gay men are 6 times more likely and lesbian females are 2 times more likely to attempt suicide.
- To date, there is no empirical data regarding the number of completed suicides within the LBGT community
Risk Factors Specific to Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Youth
- LBGT youth are at the highest risk for suicide when they come out to family and friends. The rejection or lack of support from family, friends, peers, and society contribute to this heightened risk.
- Psychiatric disorders, primarily depression, anxiety and substance abuse
- Exposure to discrimination, homophobia, bullying and violence
- Difficulty associated with conflict in relationships, especially with family, in regards to sexual identity
- Internal conflict about self-identification, hidden sexual identity, low self-esteem, self-dislike, and self-criticism
- Religious doctrines condemning suicide may also contribute to suicide among the LBGT community.
*SOURCE: Information was adapted from:
American Association of Suicidology. Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Sheet.
Preventing Suicide Among Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Youth
According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center "The steps we take to reduce suicidal behavior among LGBT youth can have the additional benefit of reducing the social stigma and discrimination against LGBT people in our families, schools, and communities. Our ultimate goal is not to merely help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth survive but to support them to thrive as healthy, productive, and vibrant youth welcomed and empowered in their communities" (p.45).
*SOURCE: Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2008). Suicide risk and prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc. This publication is available for download: http://www.sprc.org/library/SPRC_LGBT_Youth.pdf