The largest study of trans and non-binary youth reveals more than half have seriously contemplated death by suicide

Trans Day of Visibility: How to be an ally to trans and non-binary youth

More than half of trans and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide with in the last year, according to a new study from The Trevor Project.

On Wednesday, July 15, LGBT+ youth suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project released the results of its 2020 National Survey on LGBT+Youth Mental Health.

The survey is the largest-ever of its kind, representing more than 40,000 LGBT+ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 across the United States.

Tragically, the survey found that more than 40 per cent of LGBT+ youth had seriously considered suicide within the last year, and that number jumped to more than 50 per cent among trans and non-binary young people.

More than 60 per cent trans and non-binary youth had also engaged in self-harm behaviours within the last 12 months.

The figures highlight an urgent need for LGBT-inclusive mental health care in America, as almost half of respondents who wanted care were unable to receive it.

Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, said: “For years, suicide has been the second leading cause of death among young people in the US, but we still do not fully grasp the disproportionate impact it has on LGBT+ young people because of insufficient national data collection.

“This survey – the largest ever conducted on LGBT+ youth mental health – provides critical insights into the lives of LGBT+ youth and risk factors for suicide.

“We strongly urge public health officials and policymakers to make significant investments in mental health research and support programs that take an intersectional approach to meet the unique needs of diverse communities across the country.

“We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to suicide prevention does not work; the need for robust research, systematic data collection, and comprehensive mental health support has never been greater.”

The survey by The Trevor Project was conducted between December 2, 2019, and March 31, 2020, meaning the coronavirus pandemic did not have much impact on the results.

The consequences of unsupportive families on the mental health of trans and non-binary youth can be clearly seen in the survey – those who reported having their pronouns respected by all or most of the people in their lives attempted suicide at half the rate of those whose pronouns were not respected.

But the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have made the situation even worse for LGBT+ youth, who may be quarantined with unsupportive, or even abusive, families and suffering because of social isolation.

If you are struggling with your mental health and are based in the US, you can contact The Trevor Project Lifeline for free on 1-866-488-7386 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

In the UK, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or call the LGBT Foundation helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30 (open Monday to Friday between 10am and 6pm).

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