Bullying was common among LGBTQ youth who committed suicide between 2003 and 2017, Yale researchers reported in a letter to JAMA Pediatrics last week.
Dr. Kristy A. Clark of Yale, author or the report, told MedPage Today, “Experiencing bullying is associated with a host of mental health problems including things like depression [and] anxiety that contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior,” Clark told MedPage Today. “For adolescents who are LGBTQ and already navigating the internal psychological process of coming to terms with an LGBTQ identity, that is compounded by things like bullying and social rejection, which can then influence mental health and suicidality.”
The report studied 9,884 cases of children 10-19 who died from suicide over a 14-year period between 2003 and 2017. It found LGBTQ youth were bullied nearly four times more frequently than their heterosexual peers, and LGBTQ children ages 10-13 were most likely to experience bullying that directly led to suicide.
Dr. Clark and co-authors consulted coroner and law enforcement reports for adolescent suicide from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) over the 14-year period. They examined records that were keyed with terms related to bullying as ell as LGBTQ. Sexual orientation and transgender status were added to the NVDRS in 2013, and many suicides coded before that were also categorized as LGBTQ.