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Lifetime suicide attempt reported by 69.6% of LGBTQ psychiatric patients

Lifetime suicide attempt was reported by 69.6% of LGBTQ patients compared with 43.6% of non-LGBTQ patients.

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LGBTQ patients overall – particularly this belonging to other minority sectors (e.g. people of color) – have higher rates of suicide attempts than non-LGBTQ patients.

This is according to a study – “Suicidality Among Psychiatrically Hospitalized Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and/or Questioning Youth: Risk and Protective Factors” by Sara B. VanBronkhorst, Evonne M. Edwards, Daniel E. Roberts, Katie Kist, Darci L. Evans, Justin Mohatt, and Kelly Blankenship – that appeared in LGBT Health.

For this study, the researchers used data obtained from self-report measures completed by patients 12–17 years of age (n = 334) in a Midwestern psychiatric hospital from 2016 to 2017. Factors analyzed included sexual orientation, gender identity, suicidality, depression, nonsuicidal self-injury, abuse, substance use, bullying, perceived discrimination, and adult support.

The study found:

  • Nearly one-third of psychiatric patients identified as LGBTQ.
  • A lifetime suicide attempt was reported by 69.6% of LGBTQ patients compared with 43.6% of non-LGBTQ patients.
  • The prevalence of suicide attempts among LGBTQ patients with high adult support did not differ from that of non-LGBTQ patients.

In the full logistic regression model adjusting for 13 factors, the adjusted odds ratio of a suicide attempt was 5.25 among transgender/questioning patients and 2.41 among nontransgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, or questioning patients. All risk factors, apart from substance use, were more prevalent among LGBTQ than non-LGBTQ patients (p < 0.005). Among LGBTQ patients of color, 91.3% had a lifetime suicide attempt versus 62.3% of White LGBTQ patients (p = 0.009).

“LGBTQ patients overall, and LGBTQ patients of color in particular, had higher rates of suicide attempts than non-LGBTQ patients,” the researchers summed, adding that “LGBTQ patients also had a higher prevalence of risk factors for suicide” even if the study variables did not fully explain the higher prevalence of suicide attempts.

For them, therefore, there is a need to include SOGIESC analysis when dealing with suicide; just as future research should be done to “further examine possible risk factors for suicide among LGBTQ youth, such as stigma and discrimination.”

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