Worryingly high number of trans adults have considered suicide, study finds

A picture of two trans flags waving in an open area.

A study into the prevalence of serious drug use, psychological distress and thoughts of suicide has shown that 81 per cent of transgender people in the US have considered taking their own life. 

The study, conducted by researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, and using data from the US Transgender Population Health Survey, examined the prevalence among a nationally representative sample of trans and cisgender adults.

The study found that 81 per cent of trans adults had contemplated suicide, compared with just 35 per cent of cisgender adults. 

Worryingly, 42 per cent of trans adults have actually attempted to end their own life, while only 11 per cent of cisgender adults have done so.

A large number of trans adults have also engaged in non-suicidal self-injury (56 per cent), with the figure for their cisgender peers being 12 per cent.

Trans people were also found to be significantly more likely to experience poor mental health. However, 82 per cent of them said they had sought treatment at some point, compared with 47 per cent of cisgender adults. 

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The research revealed that trans and cisgender adults had similar rates of hazardous drinking and problematic drug use, with trans non-binary adults reporting the highest rates of substance abuse.

The survey, which appeared in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Psychiatry Research, reflected the findings of a study carried out for Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, in May.

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The older research, which surveyed 3,695 adults aged 18 between 25, found that 88 per cent of trans people had experienced suicidal thoughts – far higher than other groups.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in America can contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by texting 988 (988lifeline.org).

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