New suicide prevention strategies for homosexual and transgender youth
Homosexual, bisexual, and transgender youth tend to have a higher risk for suicide-related thoughts and behaviors, but research on interventions to prevent suicide among sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth has been limited. New research should focus on interventions specifically targeted to SGM youth and their unique and diverse challenges, including health needs, according to a study published in LGBT Health, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free to download on the LGBT Health website until October 8, 2016.
Kimberly McManama O'Brien, PhD and colleagues from Simmons School of Social Work, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA, and Norfolk State University, VA, emphasize the importance of strengthening family support and acceptance as part of a positive intervention. In the article entitled "Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Suicide: Understanding Subgroup Differences to Inform Interventions," the authors suggest that research on suicide prevention strategies take into consideration factors such as race and ethnicity, which may affect suicide-related outcomes.
"One's racial, ethnic, and religious minority status is usually shared with one's parents who can buffer the impact of related stigma and discrimination. SGM status, however, usually is not shared with parents and is often concealed from them," says LGBT Health Editor-in-Chief William Byne, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. "Further, families may contribute to, rather than buffer against, SGM-related stress. The article by Dr. O'Brien and colleagues is on target in pointing out the critical need for an intersectional approach to suicide prevention research in SGM youth with a focus on building family support."