Adults: Want to Help Struggling LGBTQ Youth? Show Them Acceptance.
A pair of new reports from The Trevor Project is reaffirming the need for supportive adults in the lives of LGBTQ youth who struggle with mental illness.
The new studies, Trevor's "Research Brief: Accepting Adults Reduce Suicide Attempts Among LGBTQ Youth" and "National Estimate of LGBTQ Youth Seriously Considering Suicide," offer insight into the staggering number of queer youth in America who battle suicidal thoughts. The latter report—which pulled data from the U.S. Census, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Gallup Poll, among other sources—found that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ young people in America seriously consider suicide each year. Yes, that's nearly 2 million people between the ages of 13 and 24.
However, one seemingly small factor made a significant difference in thousands of respondents' likelihood of considering suicide: having at least one accepting adult figure to turn to for support, advice, or solidarity.
According to the research brief, more than 25% of LGBTQ young people polled who did not have a supportive adult in their life considered suicide. That's compared to just 17% of respondents who were able to confide in at least one affirming adult figure. What's more, queer youth with at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year.
Both reports come just weeks after Trevor's inaugural National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, which polled more than 35,000 queer youth across all 50 states in America. In a press statement, Amit Paley, Trevor's CEO and executive director, said that this data reaffirms the need for queer-inclusive social environments and policy reforms.