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Understanding LGBT+ youth suicide in Scotland

Hazel Marzetti, a long-term volunteer with LGBT Youth Scotland, introduces her current research project.

LGBT Youth Scotland is exactly the sort of organisation that I needed growing up as a queer teenager, but that didn’t exist at that time. This is why when I found out about their work, I knew I wanted to be part of their organisation, and have been as a youth work assistant for the last (about) four years. 

It was partly through my involvement in this organisation that I became interested in doing research to try and understand, and ultimately reduce, young LGBT+ people’s suicidal thoughts and attempts in Scotland. Research by LGBT Youth Scotland in 2017 found that 50% of LGBT young people who had responded to their survey had experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviours, and when data for young trans respondents was analysed separately this rose to 63% [1].

This finding, that LGBT+ young people are more likely than their cisgender, heterosexual peers to think about and attempt suicide, is echoed across research internationally [2][3][4], but the thing that we still are struggling to work out is why this is the case.

This is where my research focuses.

I am currently undertaking a research project to try and understand what young LGBT+ people have found contributed to their own experiences of suicidal thoughts and attempts, and what helped them when they felt this way. The project focuses on talking to LGBT+ people aged 16-24, who currently live in Scotland, and have experience of suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide. The research consists of conversational interviews, basically a slightly structured conversation for around an hour with me, and the topics of that conversation can be supplied to anyone taking part in advance if they want to see them. Everyone who participates will receive a £20 voucher in return for their work taking part.

 

We are currently looking to recruit people to take part in the study. So if you:

  • LGBT+
  • Are aged 16-24
  • Live in Scotland
  • Have experienced suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide

Then we want to hear from you! We are particularly interested to hear from people living in the Highlands, Islands, Perth and Kinross, Dundee, Aberdeenshire, and the Borders. We will travel to participants and meet them in a confidential location convenient to them, and if any local travel is needed for those taking part, we will pay for this. If you are interested in taking part please email h.marzetti.1@research.gla.ac.uk or check out our page www.gla.ac.uk/lgbtyouth.

 

[1] Lough Dennell, B.L., Anderson, G. and McDonnell, D. (2018) Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People. LGBT Youth Scotland. Accessed: https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/news/2018/february/life-in-scotland-report-launch/

[2] di Giacomo, E., Krausz, M., Colmegna, F., Aspesi, F., & Clerici, M. (2018). Estimating the risk of attempted suicide among sexual minority youths. JAMA Pediatrics, 1–8.

[3] Marshal, M. P., Dietz, L. J., Friedman, M. S., Stall, R., Smith, H. A., McGinley, J., … Brent, D. A. (2011). Suicidality and depression disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49(2), 115–123.

[4] Miranda-Mendizábal, A., Castellví, P., Parés-Badell, O., Almenara, J., Alonso, I., Blasco, M. J., … Alonso, J. (2017). Sexual orientation and suicidal behaviour in adolescents and young adults: Systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 211(2), 77–87.


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