suicide plan, versus roughly 5% of their peers. In all, 12% had attempted suicide, compared with 5% of heterosexual students.
It all underscores the importance of detecting suicidal behavior early, and getting kids the help they need, Dr. Pamela Murray from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School says.
Current guidelines say all teenagers should be screened for depression yearly, starting at age 12.
But depression screening does not always catch increased suicide risk, Murray adds.
“We’ve come to realize that depression does not tell the whole story, and we may need to specifically ask about suicidality,” she shares.
Encouraging the LGBQ youth
In general, kids first realize their sexual attractions around the age of puberty. For kids attracted to their own sex, or both, those blooming feelings may be accompanied by distress if they have been exposed to “anti-gay” messages during childhood, Mustanski notes.
So it’s vital that children understand from a young age that those attractions are normal.
“The process of coming out is not easy for LGBTQ youth,” Jeremy Luk, lead researcher on the study says.
But the “good news,” is that based on other research, LGBTQ teenagers who report high levels of acceptance from either their parents or