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Conference Addresses GLBT Suicide

By Alicia Dorr in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 5, 2007 7:41PM

GLBT-logo_0.jpgAside from small-scale studies linking sexual-minority youth with high suicide attempt rates, there isn't a ton of concrete information about the higher risk of suicide among GLBT youth — U.S. data does not track sexual orientation as a factor in suicides. Still, there was a study in New Zealand that showed that they were six times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers, and it seems generally agreed upon that the risk is much higher. That's why experts from around the country are coming to Chicago for a two-day discussion on the higher risk of suicide that GLBT youth face growing up and what can be done about it.

In order to address "disproportionately high" rates of young GLBT people committing suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is co-sponsoring the event with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. The groups hope that bringing together the top minds in all fields related to the issue, they will be able to develop a "consensus statement" offering recommendations that could help spur education and suicide prevention interventions related to the GLBT community.

One of the main things it will do, hopefully, is simply raise awareness, especially among those who are in a position to help the young people struggling with their identity and are able to offer a helping hand.