Mental Health

New Study Shows 41% of Queer Youth Contemplated Suicide in 2022

The Trevor Project has released its 5th annual national survey on the mental health of LGBTQ young people. The survey found that 41% of queer youth had seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year—with barred access to mental health resources, lack of gender-affirming support, and the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation all cited as contributing factors.

The 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People surveyed over 28,000 American queer youth ages 13 to 24 in order to better understand suicide prevention.

41% of respondents reported suicidal ideation over the past year, 14% of which reported actual attempts. These rates were higher among POC, transgender and nonbinary youth.

While the survey highlights the increased rates of suicide among LGBTQ+ youth, the Trevor Project explained, “LGBTQ young people are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.” Instead, the survey demonstrates the stigmatization LGBTQ+ youth face in startling detail.

First, The Trevor Project examined access to mental health services. 81% of respondents said they had sought help from mental health services in the past year. Of those, 56% were unable to get access.

The top reason (47%) for lack of access was the fear of speaking to someone else about their mental health concerns. 41% said that they did not want to seek their parents’ permission, with 20% saying their parents had declined permission. 38% said they could not afford it.

For gender-affirming care access, 11% of respondents said they were on hormones and 2% were on puberty blockers. 65% of those receiving gender-affirming care ​​were ”somewhat or very concerned about losing access to this care.”

Another factor affecting mental health was the advancement of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation over the past year. According to the survey,  “nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ young people said their mental health was poor most of the time or always due to anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation.” This increased to nearly 2 in 3 when anti-LGBTQ+ policies hit closer to home—at the local state, city or school district level.

The survey also looked into discrimination, harassment and violence. 18% of respondents said they experienced physical threats or harm over their sexual orientation. This number jumped to 27% when it concerned gender identity. Of those who had attempted suicide, 27% had experienced physical threats or harm, compared to 9% who did not.

Finally, the survey covered ways to improve mental health outcomes, and (unsurprisingly) that comes down to supporting LGBTQ+ youth. According to the survey, “LGBTQ young people who had access to affirming homes, schools, community events, and online spaces reported lower rates of attempting suicide compared to those who did not.”

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