Suicidality disparities by sexual identity persist from adolescence into young adulthood
Green, A., Price-Feeney, M., & Dorison, S.
Significant increases in suicide deaths have occurred over the past 10 years in the U.S., particularly among adolescents and young adults (Curtin & Heron, 2019). However, suicide can be prevented through comprehensive public health strategies aimed at reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors (The Trevor Project, 2019a). Increased knowledge about populations at highest risk for suicide can assist prevention efforts aimed at ending suicide and
enhancing well-being for those individuals. National prevalence data on lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) high school students, collected as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), indicate that LGB youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide compared to straight peers (Kann et al., 2018). Recently, the CDC released a report focused on transgender high school students, with
similar disparities found in suicidality among transgender compared to cisgender students as between LGB and straight students (Johns et al., 2019). Further, The Trevor Project’s 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 39% of LGBTQ youth ages 13–24 reported seriously considering suicide in the previous 12 months (The Trevor Project, 2019b). Among adults, individuals ages 18–25 have the highest rates of suicide attempts (Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2019). Thus, there is an urgent need to understand suicide disparities among LGB young adults ages 18–25, including how they compare to findings among high school students. In 2015 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) included questions on sexual identity for the first time. The NSDUH is currently the only
national-level dataset to use probabilistic sampling and include questions on both sexual identity and suicidality among this age group. This report is the first to compare findings on suicidality among LGB youth ages 18–25 to those among LGB U.S. high school students, including the provision of adjusted odds ratios to assess suicidality risk among LGB youth compared to straight peers.