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LGBTQ Suicide Facts and Prevention

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LGBTQ Suicide Facts and Prevention

  1. 1. LGBTQ Suicide<br />Elaine M. Maccio, Ph.D., LCSW<br />April 9, 2011<br />
  2. 2. LGBTQ Youth Suicide<br />Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. <br />
  3. 3. Suicide Statistics<br />Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.1<br />Close to 35,000 people die by suicide each year.1<br />678,000 adults received medical attention and 500,000 adults reported spending at least one night in the hospital for suicide attempts in 2008.2<br />1.1 million adults reported attempting suicide in the past year.2<br />1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007 (retrieved 2010).<br />2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, 2009.<br />
  4. 4. Suicide Statistics<br />Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youths and young adults in the United States.1<br />Over 4,000 youths and young adults die by suicide each year.1<br />About 1 out of every 15 high school students attempts suicide each year.2<br />1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007 (retrieved 2010).<br />2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010. <br />
  5. 5. Suicide Statistics<br />Most people who die by suicide have mental illness and/or a substance use disorder.<br />There are other risk factors associated with suicide, including:<br />Previous suicide attempt(s)<br />Firearm ownership<br />Isolation<br />Hopelessness<br />Impulsivity and recklessness<br />Family discord and dysfunction<br />
  6. 6. Suicide Ideation in LGB Youth<br />LGB youth are 1½ to 3 times more likely to report suicide ideation than non-LGB youth.<br />Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2008<br />
  7. 7. Suicide Ideation in LGB Youth<br />31.2% of GB male high school students vs. 20.1% of heterosexual male high school students (past month)1<br />36.4% of LB female high school students vs. 34.3% of heterosexual female high school students (past month)1<br />47.3% of GB adolescent boys vs. 34.7% of non-GB adolescent boys (lifetime)2<br /> 72.9% of LB adolescent girls vs. 53% of non-LB adolescent girls (lifetime)2<br />1. Remafedi et al., 1998 <br />2. Eisenberg & Resnick, 2006<br />
  8. 8. Suicide Ideation in LGB Youth<br />42% of LGB youths said they sometimes or often thought of killing themselves. <br />48% of LGB youth said suicidal thoughts were clearly or at least somewhat related to their sexual orientation (lifetime). <br />D’Augelli et al., 2001<br />
  9. 9. Suicide Attempts in LGB Youth<br />LGB youth are 1½ to 7 times more likely to have attempted suicide than non-LGB youth.1<br />LGB youth attempts may be more serious, based on some initial findings about:<br />Intent to end their lives2<br />Lethality3<br />1. Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2008<br />2. Safren & Heimberg, 1999<br />3. Remafedi et al., 1991<br />
  10. 10. Suicide Attempts in LGB Youth<br />LGB youth were more than 2 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (past year). 1<br />Bisexual and homosexual male high school students were 7 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual counterparts (lifetime).2<br />30% of LGB youth vs. 13% of heterosexual youth (median age of 18) had attempted suicide (lifetime).3<br />1. Russell & Joyner, 2001 <br />2. Remafedi et al., 1998<br />3. Safren & Heimberg, 1999 <br />
  11. 11. Suicide Attempts in LGB Youth<br />52.4% of LB females vs. 24.8% of non-LB females and 29.0% of GB males vs. 12.6% of non-GB males had attempted suicide (lifetime). <br />Eisenberg & Resnick, 2006 <br />
  12. 12. Suicide in LGB People<br />LGB youth and young adults:<br />Two psychological autopsy studies did not find a higher rate of suicide for LGB individuals.1,2<br />Although these two studies are important, both have methodological issues that make their conclusions questionable.3<br />2003 analysis of Danish data:4<br />Found “elevated suicide risk for homosexuals”<br />Does not apply specifically to youth<br />1. Rich et al., 1986<br />2. Shaffer et al., 1995<br />3. McDaniel et al., 2001 <br />4. Qin et al., 2003<br />
  13. 13. Suicide in Transgender Youth<br />Transgender youth:<br />Limited research exists.<br />Studies show higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.<br />Risk factors: Which ones are in common with those for LGB youth?<br />
  14. 14. Warning Signs<br />Thoughts & Feelings<br />Low self-esteem, self-worth<br />Hopelessness<br />Preoccupation with death<br />Depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings<br />Loss of interest/pleasure <br />Sad, depressed<br />Sleep problems<br />Appetite/weight loss or gain<br />Worthlessness, guilt<br />Fatigue, low energy, lethargy <br />Inability to think, concentrate, make decisions<br />
  15. 15. Warning Signs<br />Communication<br />Blatant threats<br />Death, dying, afterlife<br />World without the individual<br />Reminiscing<br />Past tense<br />Diminished communication <br />Instructions for others<br />Assessing availability of means<br />
  16. 16. Warning Signs<br />Behaviors<br />Giving away possessions<br />Withdrawal<br />Relatively sudden shift from sadness to peace, contentment, happiness<br />Academic problems<br />High-risk behaviors<br />Substance use<br />Change in appearance or personality <br />
  17. 17. What You Can Do Personally<br />DON’T<br />leave the person alone<br />try to cheer the person up<br />try to grab weapons out of their hands<br />
  18. 18. What You Can Do Personally<br />DO<br />call for help, even if it’s against the person’s wishes<br />ask about thoughts of suicide<br />Thoughts<br />Motivation<br />Plan<br />Means<br />take threats seriously <br />empathize with the person<br />keep talking to them, using a calm, sympathetic voice<br />
  19. 19. What You Can Do Locally<br />Promote LGBTQ cultural competence and sensitivity through student, staff, faculty, and administrator training<br />Refer LGBTQ youth to mental health services <br />Train peers to respond to others who may be suicidal<br />Identify and reach out to service providers and organizations who can serve as resources, trainers, and advocates<br />Conduct tablings, fundraisers, socials, letter-writing campaigns, meetings with influential others, support groups, etc. to raise awareness<br />
  20. 20. Resources—National<br />American Association of Suicidology<br />American Foundation for Suicide Prevention <br />GLBT National Youth Talkline<br />National Suicide Prevention Lifeline<br />Suicide Prevention Resource Center<br />The Trevor Project<br />
  21. 21. Resources—Local<br />232-HELP/LA 211 (Lafayette) <br />Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center<br />First Call for Help (Alexandria) <br />Greater New Orleans 2-1-1<br />Heartbeat Monroe<br />Suicide Prevention Helpline (Shreveport)<br />
  22. 22. Contact<br />Elaine M. Maccio, Ph.D., LCSW<br />School of Social Work<br />Louisiana State University<br />(225) 578-1109<br />emaccio@lsu.edu<br />

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