Is the community doing enough when LGBT are in distress? Have we done enough education and prevention to help stop horrible tragedies like Tyler Clementi and others that have committed suicide? It’s a question that is still prevalent in our community. An epidemic that over the past few years have plagued the LGBT community.
Here are the recent statistics from the Surgeon General detailing the likelihood of LGBT to attempt suicide:
Studies over the last four decades suggest that LGBT individuals may have an elevated risk for suicide ideation and attempts.–Thus, it is not known whether LGBT people die by suicide at higher rates than comparable heterosexual people.
Across many diferent countries, a strong and consistent relationship between sexual orientation and nonfatal suicidal behavior has been observed.A meta-analysis of 25 international population-based studies found the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in gay and bisexual male adolescents and adults was four times that of comparable heterosexual males. Lifetime suicide attempt rates among lesbian and bisexual females were almost twice those of heterosexual females. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents and adults were also found to be almost twice as likely as heterosexuals to report a suicide attempt in the past year.
A later meta-analysis of adolescent studies concluded that LGB youth were three times more likely to report a lifetime suicide attempt than heterosexual youth, and four times as likely to make a medically serious attempt. Across studies, 12 to 19 percent of LGB adults report making a suicide attempt, compared with less than 5 percent of all U.S. adults; and at least 30 percent of LGB adolescents report attempts, compared with 8 to 10 percent of all adolescents. To date, population-based studies have not identiied transgender participants, but numerous nonrandom surveys show high rates of suicidal behavior in that population, with 41 percent of adult respondents to the 2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey reporting lifetime suicide attempts.
It’s still happening and highly prevalent in our community. This is why advocacy is so important. We cannot afford to be complacent. Often, most of us may not know what to say or do. And when we don’t we have to be aware of the organizations that can help.
Are we doing more in the continuing epidemic? Of course we are. We have organizations like The Trevor Project and Hetrick-Martin Institute that tirelessly work with xrisis intervention and suicide prevention. Also ItGetsBetter that inspires and gives hope to LGBT youth. Organizations that weren’t available a decade ago or even a few years ago. But there is always more that needs to be done. We need to always be aware.