September is National Suicide Awareness Month.
The organization I started, Conversations on the Fringe, ran a two-year-long study on the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth in Central Illinois. Each student engaged in face-to-face interviews, submitted written responses to an extensive questionnaire, or completed an online survey. We had over one hundred participants. The questions focused on family acceptance/rejection, coming out, stressors, intersections, trauma/bullying, social alienation/acceptance, substance abuse/mental health issues, suicidality, and faith experiences.
The results of our study closely reflected national statistics that revealed LGBTQIA+ youth are more susceptible to suicidal ideation than their straight peers.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.
- LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.
- LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
- Of all the suicide attempts made by youth, LGB youth suicide attempts were almost five times as likely to require medical treatment than those of heterosexual youth.
- Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.
- In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
- Trans youth are 12 times more likely to take their own lives than straight peers.
- LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
- 1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9–12) seriously considered suicide in the past year.
- Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.
There is an immense need for more safe and affirming spaces around the country for queer youth.
What are you doing to create life-saving spaces for youth in your community?