Study shows trans youth who use puberty blockers are less likely to think about suicide

According to a new US study published in medical journal "Pediatrics", mental health in the immediate term and into adulthood is positively affected by access to puberty blockers.

A young person with a trans flag in their hands and painted on their face stands in the street
Image: Rosemary Jenkins

A new study published in the peer reviewed medical journal Pediatrics says if trans youth have access to puberty blockers they are less likely to think about suicide and will have better mental health moving into adulthood.

The study, Pubertal Suppression for Transgender Youth and Risk of Suicidal Ideation, used data from the 2015 US Transgender Study which involved over 20,000 trans people between the ages of 18 and 36. It found that 17% of those surveyed had wanted puberty blockers but only 2.5% actually received them. Contrasting those who had received the treatment against those who had not, people who had puberty blockers had lower suicidal ideation and mental health issues. Of those who had wanted them and had not received them, 90% reported suicidal ideation.

Puberty blockers are reversible drugs or implants that pause puberty. They are prescribed to trans youth who suffer gender dysphoria and their effect wears off without continued use.

A report on CNN contained an interview with Dr Michelle Forcier, a paediatrician who works with trans patients. Dr Forcier shared, “Historically we have known the puberty blockers are safe and effective and this is totally reversible, so the benefits far outweigh any risk. It is sort of a no-brainer to make these available in these circumstances.”

Dr Forcier continued, “This access is associative into adulthood and is important for safety. We know that access can offer protective effects. This is something that will help a parent keep their child safe.”

Earlier this month, Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin organised the No Delay, Gender Recognition For All protest following amendments to the Gender Recognition Act which failed to fully implement recommendations relating to children under the age of 16, amongst other issues.

The organisers shared, “Back in November, the Gender Recognition Act review stated that they will not be implementing non-binary recognition, intersex recognition or recognition for trans people under 16 years. Every trans and intersex person should have the right to self determine their gender and it is not up to the political establishment to decide who gets that right.”

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