LGBT youth are at a higher risk of suicide and life-threatening behavior than their heterosexual peers, a new study has found, with transgender teens being the most at risk.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 2.5 million adolescents published in JAMA Pediatrics concluded that “sexual minority youths” — those identifying as “homosexual,” “bisexual,” “transgender” — “have a significantly higher risk of life-threatening behavior compared with their heterosexual peers.”
To examine the risk of attempted suicide among sexual minority adolescents, differentiating for each sexual minority group, researchers searched electronic databases for articles published through April 30, 2017, with the following search terms: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, adolescents, teens, and attempted suicide.
In total, thirty-five studies reported in 22 articles that involved 2,378,987 heterosexual and 113,468 sexual minority adolescents (age range, 12-20 years) were included in the analysis.
Researchers found that overall, transgender youths were the most at risk of committing suicide, followed by bisexual and homosexual teens.
As suicide is the second-leading cause of death among adolescents, according to the Center for Disease Control, researchers emphasized that “public awareness is important, and a careful evaluation of supportive strategies (eg, support programs, counseling, and destigmatizing efforts) should be part of education and public health planning.”
Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, told The Christian Post that the study “confirms what no one disputes: Namely, that youth who identify as LGBQT have higher rates of mental illness leading to a greater risk of life-threatening behaviors.”
But contrary what to these authors conclude, Cretella said, there is “no evidence that ‘destigmatizing efforts’ will solve the problem, because there is no evidence that the higher rates are due primarily to stigmatization.”
She pointed out that Sweden is among the most LGBT affirming nations in the world, yet, LGBT mental illness and suicide rates in Sweden are just as dramatically elevated relative to the general population.
“This fact strongly suggests that it is at least as likely, if not more so, that the higher rates are primarily due to LGBQT behavior, or to common underlying psychosocial factors that trigger both LGBQT attractions and accompanying mental disorders,” she continued.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett