Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, and the second-leading cause of death for teens and young adults (age 10 to 34). And while there are countless reasons one may attempt suicide, a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found being trans may put one at an increased risk.
In fact, transgender teens are far more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender counterparts, the AAP reports.
According to the study, which followed 617 adolescents for a 36-month period, 14 percent of the teens surveyed had attempted suicide. However, there was a huge disparity when it came to one’s gender identity, i.e., more than half of the transgender male teens surveyed attempted suicide, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide.
Among nonbinary youth, 41.8 percent stated that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
The reason for the elevated risk was not specified; however, the Human Rights Campaign believes it could be due in part to increased rates of bullying, harassment and family rejection. In fact, earlier this year, the HRC conducted a study with the University of Connecticut that seemed to echo these very notions: only 26 percent of LGBTQ teens say they feel safe in their school classrooms, just 5 percent say their teachers and school staff are supportive and 67 percent hear or have head family members make disparaging remarks about LGBTQ people.
That said, it appears suicide rates are on the rise across the board. In June, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published a startling statistic: Rates of suicide in the United States have increased nearly 30 percent since 1999. As such, it is imperative proper suicide-prevention steps are taken… and taken now.
But how can you prevent suicide? Well, we can start by talking openly about suicide, by talking honestly about suicide and by listening to those you love — without guilt, shame or stigma.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re a young LGBTQ person and need to talk to someone, call The Trevor Project’s 24-hour crisis hotline for youth at 1-866-488-7386 and/or The Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.