Almost half of trans young people in Australia try to end their lives

new study released today has found trans young people in Australia are experiencing extraordinarily high levels of mental health difficulties, including depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide attempts | The Conversation

Trans and gender diverse young people identify with a gender that does not match their sex assigned at birth. We use trans to be inclusive of people who identify as transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid, male, female, and other terms.

There is existing evidence that trans young people in Australia experience high levels of distress compared to the general population. This new study, called Trans Pathways, delved deeper into what might contribute to mental health issues, to understand how mental health and medical services respond to trans young people seeking support.

Perhaps the most confronting finding was that almost half of trans young people has attempted to end their life by suicide. This statistic alone demonstrates the urgent need for all Australians to act and do more to support trans young people. Support is needed from peers, parents, schools, health professionals and government.

Read the full blog post here


Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour

Research suggests that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents have a higher risk of suicidal behaviours than their heterosexual peers, but little is known about specific risk factors | The British Journal of Psychiatry

Aims: To assess sexual orientation as a risk factor for suicidal behaviours, and to identify other risk factors among LGB adolescents and young adults.

Method: A systematic search was made of six databases up to June 2015, including a grey literature search. Population-based longitudinal studies considering non-clinical populations aged 12–26 years and assessing being LGB as a risk factor for suicidal behaviour compared with being heterosexual, or evaluating risk factors for suicidal behaviour within LGB populations, were included. Random effect models were used in meta-analysis.

Results: Sexual orientation was significantly associated with suicide attempts in adolescents and youths (OR = 2.26, 95% CI 1.60–3.20). Gay or bisexual men were more likely to report suicide attempts compared with heterosexual men (OR = 2.21, 95% CI 1.21–4.04). Based on two studies, a non-significant positive association was found between depression and suicide attempts in LGB groups.

Conclusions: Sexual orientation is associated with a higher risk of suicide attempt in young people. Further research is needed to assess completed suicide, and specific risk factors affecting the LGB population.

Full reference: Miranda-Mendizábal, A. et al. (2017) Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour in adolescents and young adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 211 (no. 2) pp. 77-87. 

Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour in young people

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) young people have been found to be at greater risk of suicidal behaviour | The British Journal of Psychiatry

National prevention strategies have identified the need to reduce suicide risk in this population. However, research on specific risk factors for LGB young people that might inform suicide prevention programmes are at an early stage of development.

Full reference:  Meader, N. & Chan, M.K.Y. (2017) Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour in young people. The British Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 211 (no. 2) pp. 63-64

Meeting the Needs of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth: Formative Research on Potential Digital Health Interventions

Steinke, J. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online: January 17 2017


Purpose: Sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) have unique risk factors and worse health outcomes than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. SGMY’s significant online activity represents an opportunity for digital interventions. To help meet the sex education and health needs of SGMY and to understand what they consider important, formative research was conducted to guide and inform the development of new digital health interventions.


Conclusions: Any digital intervention for SGMY should focus on mental health and well-being holistically rather than solely on risk behaviors, such as preventing HIV. Interventions should include opportunities for interpersonal connection, foster a sense of belonging, and provide accurate information about sexuality and gender to help facilitate positive identity development. Content and delivery of digital interventions should appeal to diverse sexualities, genders, and other intersecting identities held by SGMY to avoid further alienation.

Read the full article here

Enhancing Pediatric Trainees’ and Students’ Knowledge in Providing Care to Transgender Youth

Vance Jnr., S.R. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online: January 05 2017


Purpose: To enhance pediatric trainees’ and students’ knowledge of the psychosocial and medical issues facing transgender youth through a comprehensive curriculum.


Conclusions: A comprehensive curriculum comprised interactive online modules and an observational experience in a pediatric gender clinic was effective at improving pediatric learners’ perceived knowledge of the medical and psychosocial issues facing transgender youth. Learners also highly valued the curriculum.

Read the full abstract here

Mental Health Disparities Among Canadian Transgender Youth

Veale, J.F. et al. (2017) Journal of Adolescent Health. 60(1) pp. 44–49


Purpose: This study documented the prevalence of mental health problems among transgender youth in Canada and made comparisons with population-based studies. This study also compared gender identity subgroups and age subgroups (14–18 and 19–25).

Conclusions: Although a notable minority of transgender youth did not report negative health outcomes, this study shows the mental health disparities faced by transgender youth in Canada are considerable.

Read the full article here

Differences in Mental Health Symptoms Across Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Youth in Primary Care Settings

Shearer, A. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Available online 1 April 2016

Purpose: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning (LGBQ) youth exhibit significantly higher rates of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and nonsuicidal self-injury than their heterosexual peers. Past studies tend to group LGBQ youth together; however, more recent studies suggest subtle differences in risk between sexual minority groups. This study examined differences in mental health symptoms across male and female youth who are attracted to the same sex (gay and lesbian), opposite sex (heterosexual), both sexes (bisexual), or are unsure of whom they were attracted to (questioning) in a sample of 2,513 youth (ages 14–24 years).

Methods: Data were collected using the Behavioral Health Screen—a Web-based screening tool that assesses psychiatric symptoms and risk behaviors—during routine well visits.

Results: Bisexual and questioning females endorsed significantly higher scores on the depression, anxiety, and traumatic distress subscales than did heterosexual females. Lesbians, bisexual females, and questioning females all exhibited significantly higher lifetime suicide scores than heterosexual females. Interestingly, bisexual females exhibited the highest current suicide scores. Gay and bisexual males endorsed significantly higher scores on the depression and traumatic distress subscales than did heterosexual males. Gay males also exhibited higher scores on the anxiety subscale than heterosexual males, with bisexual males exhibiting a nonsignificant trend toward higher scores as well.

Conclusions: Findings highlight varying level of risk across subgroups of LGBQ youth and suggest the importance of considering LGBQ groups separately in the context of a behavioral health assessment, especially for females.

Read the abstract here