Differential Experiences of Mental Health among Trans/Gender Diverse Adults in Michigan

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 18;17(18):E6805. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17186805.


Transgender and gender diverse individuals experience high rates of health disparities, as compared with their cisgender (non-transgender) counterparts. One area in which these disparities is most grave is that of mental health, with some studies indicating transgender and gender diverse individuals as having a 40% rate of lifetime suicide attempts and similarly high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. These rates vary further within this population, with differential rates seen across sociodemographic factors, including race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, education level, and income. This study explores mental health experiences across different social identities, using data from the 2018 Michigan Trans Health Survey (N = 659), a community-based participatory action research project collected in Michigan, United States, analyzed using chi-square tests of independence and logistic regressions. Findings indicate incredibly high rates of mental health concerns; 72.2% had been diagnosed with depression in their lifetime and 73.0% had been diagnosed with anxiety in their lifetime. In the past year, 49.9% had had non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) thoughts, 45.4% had suicidal thoughts, 26.3% engaged in NSSI, and 7.7% had attempted suicide. Bivariate regressions showed some nuanced experiences of rates of mental health diagnoses and experiences, such as greater odds of experiencing all mental health disparities among those with disabilities, and differential odds across gender in regard to ever having a depression diagnosis, non-suicidal self-injury thoughts and engaging in non-suicidal self-injury behavior. This indicates a need for social workers, counselors, therapists, and other human services professionals to act more intentionally and with an intersectional lens when it comes to exploring the mental health of transgender and gender diverse persons.

PMID:32961959 | DOI:10.3390/ijerph17186805