Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Popula tions: Review and Recommendations Article (HTML) “Journal of Homosexuality” Jan 2011
When I first saw this article, I thought something new that somebody has realised that the LGBT communities face a higher risk from suicide. The acknowledgement by this panel of academics of how social factors like stigma and discrimination contribute to suicidality or suicidal behaviours of people who identify seems refreshing. In so much as it validates our experiences that these factors detract from our individual and community wellness.
- Rejection or abuse by family members or peers
- Bullying and harassment
- denunciation from religious communities
- individual discrimination
- Discriminatory laws and public policies have a profound negative impact
Their Recommendations include
- LGBT organizations to lead efforts to encourage early identification of mental health issues
- Push for the development and testing of a wider range of culturally appropriate mental health treatments and suicide prevention initiatives.
- Revision of diagnoses pertaining to transgender people in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (due out in 2013) to affirm that gender identity, expression and behavior that differ from birth sex is not indicative of a mental disorder.
- Improving information about LGBT people by measuring sexual orientation and gender identity in all national health surveys in which respondents’ privacy can be adequately protected, and encouraging researchers to include such measures in general population studies related to suicide and mental health.
Social factors trigger LGBT suicidality these recommendations do not seek to address the issue but at some level manage the symptom. The symptom being suicidality the issue here is stigma and discrimination experienced by people who identify as LGBT and their communities. It is not a pathological process but a social issue requiring a political intervention not a clinical one. While the later may assist the individual in developing personal resilience, it is a bandaid measurer. A political side step, which focuses on the victim rather than critically responding to the underlying issue