February 11, 2015 Healthy Living

LGBT Youth at Higher Risk for Suicide

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth and those who question their sexual identity are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, according to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey.

Gay youth are more prone to facing certain stressful situations, such as an increasing awareness of same sex attraction, disclosure of sexual orientation to family and friends, and victimization provoked by their sexual orientation.

A 2009 study led by Dr. Caitlin Ryan and conducted as part of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University shows that adolescents who were rejected by their families for being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide. For every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made.

If you or someone you know is at risk, please encourage him or her to seek intervention. For LGBT and questioning youth in the Capital Region, support and counseling services are available through the Pride Center of the Capital Region. Call (518) 462-6138 or send an email.

Another option is The Trevor Project, a free, confidential, 24-hour suicide prevention helpline for LGBT and questioning youth. Those who need assistance can dial 1-866-4.U.Trevor (1-866-488-7386) or can ask Trevor for help online.

LGBT and questioning youth who have coverage through CDPHP® can contact the CDPHP Behavioral Health Access Center, a 24-hour, confidential hotline that offers crisis management and treatment referrals. Please call 1-888-320-9584. For after-hours support, please call the same number and press 1 to be connected to Capital Counseling’s CONTACT Lifeline. You will immediately be transferred to a live, licensed mental health professional. To reach the crisis line directly, please call 1-855-293-0785.

Remember that you are not alone. Qualified, caring professionals are ready and willing to help. Give them a call today.


Photo by Purple Sherbet Photography / CC BY

Anne Fernandez
About the Author

Dr. Fernandez joined CDPHP in 2012 as a medical director in the behavioral health department. Previously, she worked as a psychiatrist at St. Peter’s Healthcare in Albany and St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center clinics throughout the Capital District. Dr. Fernandez received a medical degree from SUNY Stony Brook, an MBA in health systems administration from Union College, a master’s in science and technology studies from RPI, and a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. She is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology.

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