1 in 5 Trans youth attempted suicide in 2021, US study finds

While the study by the Trevor Project revealed unsettling data on the decline of mental health among LGBTQ+ youth in the US, the West Cork People released an overview of Trans healthcare in Ireland.

Person sitting back against a stone wall, head in arms. This story details Trans and LGBTQ+ suicide rates in the US
Image: Via Pexels

A survey of almost 34,000 LGBTQ+ youth in the US between the ages of 13 and 24 was released yesterday, May 4. It revealed an alarmingly high rate of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation, with Trans youth among the most affected.

Specifically, the survey found that in 2021:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 Trans young people attempted to take their own lives;
  • Almost half of LGBTQ+ youth and over 53% of Trans and non-binary young people seriously considered suicide;
  • Rates of suicidal ideation among LGBTQ+ youth are continuing to grow, up now to 45% compared to the 39% recorded in the Trevor Project’s first annual survey conducted in 2019.

With the onslaught of recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping the States, it is no surprise that the young queer community are reporting poor mental health.

“Transgender and non-binary youth already report the highest rates of anxiety and depression symptoms,” said Dr Myeshia Price, Trevor Project senior research scientist. “They’re aware of this legislation being put forth, and it’s definitely impacting their mental health.”

The survey found this to be true, with over 90% of Trans and non-binary youth concerned about discriminatory laws which would deny them gender-affirming care and access to bathrooms. Additionally, 83% of the same group expressed worry over bills banning them from participating in sports on the team that aligns with their gender identity.

Meanwhile, Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist Lisa Brinkman gave an overview of Trans healthcare in Ireland in an online article for West Cork People, highlighting the services many Transgender people seek access to, including psychotherapy, clinical psychology/psychiatry, endocrinology and surgeries.

“Unfortunately we are not doing very well as a country regarding these healthcare services for Transgender people,” Brinkman writes. “First of all, we still don’t have clear defined medical pathways and treatment protocols for Transgender healthcare that are specific to Ireland. As a result, professionals of different disciplines who work in this area have to refer to (different) international guidelines and treatment protocols.”

Brinkman goes on to say that the waiting period for Transgender adults to access the public National Gender Service in Loughlinstown is up to four years for a first appointment, with Trans children and adolescents facing even more challenges. The article notes that funding has run out for the under-18s gender clinic based in Crumlin hospital which previously ran every six weeks, and while the HSE seeks to create an Irish based service, this will likely also have exceptionally long waiting times.

“Many Transgender and LGBT+ advocacy groups are rallying for better public services and often approach the HSE and the government to highlight the urgent need for more funding and resources,” Brinkman writes. “The long waiting times in the public sector are detrimental to many Transgender people’s mental health and add to their stresses and suffering.”

Although we have fortunately not seen the same anti-LGBTQ+ legislation threatening Ireland, our limited access to Trans healthcare could potentially lead us towards similar devastating statistics as our US counterparts when it comes to mental health and suicide rates.

You can read the West Cork people article in full here to learn more about Trans healthcare in Ireland.

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