Year: 2023 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2023). 27(3), 956-965. DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2022.2096519 SIEC No: 20231677

Background: Suicide continues to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States and lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals are disproportionately at risk of suicide in comparison to heterosexuals.

Methods: We examined data from adults participating for five waves (2015-2019) of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. We first determined whether there is differential risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, and suicide attempts (self-injurious thoughts and behaviors [SITBs]) in the past year according to current sexual orientation. We then estimated linear trends in prevalence of each SITB outcome stratified by each sexual orientation category.

Results: We estimate that compared to heterosexual men and women, gay and bisexual men and lesbian and bisexual women are at greater odds of past-year suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, and suicide attempts, respective to their sexes. Between 2015 and 2019, suicidal thoughts increased among bisexual men (by 34.3%, p = 0.037), lesbian women (by 18.4%, p = 0.033), and bisexual women (by 15.7%, p < 0.001). Prevalence of suicide plans increased among heterosexual men (by 15.3%, p = 0.017), gay men (by 28.5%, p = 0.037), and bisexual women (by 23.2%, p < 0.001). Suicide attempts increased among bisexual women by 26.6% (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Sexual minority identity is a risk factor for SITBs. Bisexual women in particular are not only at greater risk for SITBs, but estimated prevalence has increased in recent years. More attention needs to be paid to LGB populations regarding future suicide prevention efforts.