Disparities in Suicide Risk Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults
Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.
Rajeev Ramchand, PhD, RAND Corporation, presents as part of the 2022 Suicide-Focused Assessment and Treatment: An Update for Professionals course.
LGBTQ+ and Suicide
In this talk, Ramchand discusses challenges in conducting suicide research in LGBTQ populations. He describes two empirical papers he and his colleagues wrote about suicide in lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. Their findings show increased ideation, planning, and attempts in these populations.
Watch now to learn more about:
- Why more data on LGBTQ suicide is needed
- How rates of LGBTQ suicide are higher than heterosexual peers
- Why bisexual individuals may face unique stigmas
Ramchand points out that studying suicide risk among LGBTQ populations is challenging because insufficient data exists on suicide deaths in the population. The fact that sexual orientation is not included in most death investigation jurisdictions across the United States remains a barrier.
Researchers have examined suicide mortality risk in LGBTQ populations in other ways, including linked survey data, diagnostic codes, and natural language processing.
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In their study on the topic, Ramchand and his colleagues used the National Survey of Drug Use and Health to review rates of suicide ideation, plans, and attempts among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. Their research did not include transgender individuals—not from a lack of interest, but from a lack of data and resources.
Ramchand and his colleagues found that in both males and females, suicide ideation, planning, and attempts were significantly higher in gay individuals than in heterosexual individuals.
The research team only had data for bisexual individuals for the ideation category, but found that rates of ideation among this group far exceeded the numbers for heterosexual and even gay populations.
“These mostly consistent results reveal elevated suicide behaviors among LGBT adults that give evidence to what’s been deemed minority stress theory,” Ramchand says.
“The stigma of prejudice and discrimination of LGBT individuals may exacerbate the risk of mental health problems thereby increasing suicide practices.”