In what is reportedly the first systematic review and analysis of suicidality and depressive symptoms in sexual minority youth, Dr Michael Marshal PhD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania conducted an analysis of nineteen studies that included a total of 122,995 participants.
Dr Marshall says, “gay and lesbian individuals experience much more violence, discrimination, and victimization than heterosexual teenagers, which in turn leads to increased stress and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that can develop into depression and [suicide].” He also argues that gay teens are socially marginalized and ostracized from mainstream social groups and, as a result, they gravitate to “fringe” social groups, where there tends to be more risky behaviour, including drug and alcohol use.
In short, GLBT teens are three times more likely to report a history of suicidality and more than twice as likely to report symptoms of depression than their heterosexual counterparts
It’s essential that your school can provide a supportive environment for all your students regardless of their sexuality or gender.
If you’re looking for some strategies or approaches that work, The Freedom Centre is an excellent resource for professionals working with GLBT youth.
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminar at the Gold Coast. He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler