Suicide Prevention Targets LGBT Community; Will It Work?

on September 11 2012 7:49 PM
Suicide Prevention
The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention for World Suicide Prevention Day has added a new concentration for the LGBT community. Creative Commons

For this year's World Suicide Prevention Day, the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention for World Suicide Prevention Day is adding a special focus on the LGBT community, TakePart reported.

This is the first time the federal program has specifically addressed suicide prevention in the LGBT community, which has long been known to be at high risk.

"Across many different countries, a strong and consistent relationship between sexual orientation and nonfatal suicidal behavior has been observed," the new document reads. "Lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in gay and bisexual male adolescents and adults was four times that of comparable heterosexual males."

Lesbian and bisexual women are twice as prone to attempt suicide as straight females, the report said.

"The 2012 NSSP represents a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to highlight the unique health needs of the LGBT community and ensure government responsiveness," Andrew Lane of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention told the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper.

Members of the LGBT community are at higher risk of suicide because of "minority stress" and "institutional discrimination," the document states.

"'Minority stress,' ... stems from the cultural and social prejudice attached to minority sexual orientation and gender identity," the document said.

"Institutional discrimination" includes "laws and public policies that create inequities or omit LGBT people from benefits and protections afforded others."

(Click here to read the full report)

The report suggests combating suicide by addressing bullying and prejudice against gay individuals and increasing access to "LGBT-affirming treatments and mental health services."

"Today, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people age 15 to 24," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said according to Take Part. "And we've seen especially alarming trends in our armed forces."

"We have a long way to go to achieve our ultimate goal of a nation free from the tragic experience of suicide," Sebelius said. "But thanks to this strategy and all the partners who have committed to implementing it, we have a clear roadmap for getting there."

TakePart describes itself as "an interactive publisher and the digital arm of Participant Media, the company responsible for award-winning films such as 'An Inconvenient Truth,' 'Food Inc.,' 'Waiting for Superman,' 'Charlie Wilson's War,' 'Contagion' and 'The Help."

Its mission is "to inspire and accelerate social change by connecting compelling content to social action."

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