Study reveals that nearly 80% of trans people in Ireland have contemplated suicide

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A new survey has revealed worrying statistics that 80% of trans people in Ireland have considered suicide.

According to the survey Speaking from the Margins: Trans Mental Health and Wellbeing in Ireland, almost a third of trans people have attempted suicide, and almost 80% have considered it.

The report was published today by the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), and was co-written by Dr Sonja Ellis of Sheffield Hallam University.

It found that 78% of respondents had contemplated suicide, with 40% having actually attempted it, at least once. It also found that some participants had attempted suicide multiple times in the last year, and some more than ten times in their life.

Self harm figures were also worryingly high, with 44% of respondents saying they had self harmed.

TENI Director Broden Giambrone said: “Trans people experienced worrying levels of violence because of their gender identity: Six per cent of trans people had been raped; 36 per cent had been sexually harassed; 16 per cent were physically assaulted and 64 per cent were mocked or called names.

“The impact of this is that trans people and their families experience endemic levels of stress and anxiety. We found that 83 per cent of trans people avoided public spaces due to a fear of being harassed.”

TENI Health and Education Officer Vanessa Lacey added: “Trans people are treated like second-class citizens. The amount of parents who are contacting me on a daily basis looking for help and hope for their loved ones is astronomical. I’m encouraged by the engagement of the HSE at a high level to take the stigma and discrimination out of health care, but this commitment needs to resonate throughout the system.”

Dr Ellis said: “This report, like its UK counterpart – The UK Trans Mental Health Study 2012 – is the only report to comprehensively provide an indication of the mental health and wellbeing of the trans population.

“This will be of tremendous use in assisting mental health workers to appropriately support trans people and to improve the quality of health provision for this population.”

The study also focused on mapping people’s experience within the health care system in Ireland. The majority of trans people had had negative experiences: health care professionals had discouraged 26 per cent of respondents from exploring their gender and 19 per cent of people were told they ‘weren’t really trans’.

The survey was the largest of its kind to have been carried out in Ireland with 210 people responding between June and August 2012.