LGBT Teens at Greater Risk of Suicide

Teenagers often have to cope with hormonal issues, issues of bullying, and self-esteem problems that could cause them to consider suicide. For teens who are LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual — they may be subject to additional bullying and concerns about their identity. Because of the added challenges they face, it may come as no surprise that one recent study shows that LGBT teens are at a greater risk of suicide than their heterosexual peers.

Suicide malpractice lawyer Skip Simpson is concerned that these young people are often in situations where they feel suicide is the only way out. He believes it is important to recognize the challenges that LGBT teens face and urges mental health professionals and care providers to be aware of the high risk of suicide and take any necessary steps to prevent their teenage patients from harming themselves.

LGBT Teens at Greater Risk of Suicide

According to the Independent Record, teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered in middle school or in high school are often subject to verbal harassment; physical harassment and assault. Six of ten LGBT students who participated in a CDC survey reported that they felt unsafe in school and eight in ten had been subject to some type of harassment. In Texas in early March, one of many examples of such bullying was reported. The Huffington Post indicated that a Texas lesbian was beaten unconscious on a playground after defending a bullied child. The man who attacked her shouted anti-gay slurs.

With incidents like these, it should come as no surprise that teens who identify as LGBT are at greater risk of suicide than their peers. In addition to dealing with bullying, they may also be concerned that their identity makes them outsiders and may fear losing the approval of their families or social communities. This can exacerbate suicidal tendencies and is just another factor that makes a difference in explaining the higher suicide rates among LGBT teens.

The difference in suicide rates is striking, with the Independent Record reporting that a national study of adolescents had revealed that LGBT teens were more than twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to have tried to kill themselves. In Montana, where there are a high number of suicides throughout the state, the data also indicates that 15 percent of young people who reported suicide attempts also reported that they had been involved in a same-sex relationship or felt attractions to members of their own sex.

A licensed mental health counselor who is executive director of an outreach program targeted toward LGBT teens and college students indicated that most of his teen and young adult clients had considered suicide. According to his statement to the Independent Record, the counselor believes that the thoughts of suicide may be driven by concern that they cannot have a good life and that getting through high school seems insurmountable.

As long as discrimination and bullying continue, the sad fact is that LGBT teens may continue to be plagued by these thoughts. It is very important for all healthcare providers to be aware of the increased risk of suicide faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender teens and to take appropriate steps to get them the help they need.

If you lost a loved  one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call  214-618-8222.

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