Transgender and sexual-minority adolescents have an increased risk for suicidal ideation and attempt compared with their cisgender and heterosexual peers, according to a study published online June 6 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.
Mila Kingsbury, Ph.D., from the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues used data from the 2019 Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth for 6,800 adolescents aged 15 to 17 years.
The researchers report that 16.5 percent of teens indicated some degree of same-gender attraction, 4.3 percent were unsure of their attraction, and 0.6 percent reported a transgender identity. Transgender adolescents showed five times the risk for suicidal ideation as cisgender, heterosexual adolescents (58 versus 10 percent) and more than seven times the risk for suicide attempt (40 versus 5 percent). Cisgender girls attracted to girls had 3.6 times the risk for previous-year suicidal ideation and 3.3 times the risk for having ever attempted suicide versus heterosexual peers, while teens attracted to multiple genders had 2.5 times the risk for suicidal ideation and 2.8 times the risk for suicide attempt. A doubled risk for having attempted suicide in their lifetime was seen among youth questioning their sexual orientation.
“Suicide prevention programs specifically targeted to transgender, nonbinary, and sexual minority adolescents, as well as gender-affirming care for transgender adolescents, may help reduce the burden of suicidality among this group,” a coauthor said in a statement.
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