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Report: Latinx LGBTQ+ Young People Face Unique Mental Health Challenges and Disparities in Suicide Risk, Attempts

BY: Trevor News
LGBTQ youth sitting alone with a phone with text messages on the home screen

Latinx LGBTQ+ young people have 22% higher odds of suicide attempts in the past year compared to non-Latinx LGBTQ+ young people

October 12, 2023 — A new report released today by The Trevor Project, the leading organization working to end suicide among LGBTQ+ young people in the U.S. and beyond, explores the mental health and well-being of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people living in the U.S. The report provides new data on the unique mental health outcomes of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people related to depression, anxiety, suicide risk and protective factors, while also featuring insights specific to Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban LGBTQ+ young people.

Key findings include:

  • 44% of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 42% of Mexican LGBTQ+ youth, 42% of Puerto Rican LGBTQ+ youth, and 38% of Cuban LGBTQ+ youth.
  • 16% of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people attempted suicide in the past year, including 15% of Mexican LGBTQ+ youth, 15% of Puerto Rican LGBTQ+ youth, and 9% of Cuban LGBTQ+ youth.
  • Latinx transgender and nonbinary young people reported significantly higher rates of suicide risk compared to cisgender Latinx LGBQ youth, with over half (53%) seriously considering suicide and more than 1 in 5 (21%) reporting a suicide attempt in the past year.
  • Latinx LGBTQ+ young people have a 22% higher likelihood of a past-year suicide attempt compared to non-Latinx LGBTQ+ young people. This heightened risk partly stems from fears of family detainment or deportation, with more than one-third of Latinx LGBTQ+ youth (34%) reporting being worried sometimes or a lot about themselves or a family member facing detainment or deportation due to immigration policies.
  • A strong connection to one’s cultural identity is a protective factor for Latinx LGBTQ+ young people. Latinx LGBTQ+ youth who felt their race/ethnicity was an important part of who they were had 24% lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year. And in general, the more important Latinx LGBTQ+ young people’s race/ethnicity was to who they were, the lower their rate of past-year suicide attempts.

“These latest findings shed an important light on the unique mental health outcomes and suicide risk of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people,” said Dr. Ronita Nath (she/her), Vice President of Research at The Trevor Project. “This research illustrates the critical and unmistakable need to better invest in mental health resources and suicide prevention interventions that are culturally salient and responsive, help address immigration concerns, and better reflect the diverse identities, experiences, and needs of all Latinx LGBTQ+ young people.”

These data also underscore the unique forms of victimization faced by Latinx LGBTQ+ young people that place them at increased risk for suicide.

In the report, over half of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people (55%) reported discrimination based on their sexual orientation in the past year while two-thirds of transgender and nonbinary Latinx youth (66%) reported discrimination based on their gender identity. Additionally, 39% of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people reported experiencing discrimination based on their race/ethnicity in the past year and more than 1 in 10 reported having been discriminated against based on their actual or perceived immigration status (11%) — more than double that of the overall LGBTQ+ youth sample. 

Latinx LGBTQ+ young people who experienced discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity reported nearly three times the rate of suicide attempts in the past year compared to those who did not experience discrimination (21% vs. 8%). And those who faced immigration-based or race-based discrimination showed higher rates of suicide attempts in the past year compared to those who did not.

The report also illuminates the significant relationship between immigration concerns and mental health outcomes among Latinx LGBTQ+ young people. Specifically, more than one-third of Latinx LGBTQ+ young people (34%) worried sometimes or a lot about themselves or a family member facing detainment or deportation due to immigration policies. While Latinx LGBTQ+ young people have a 22% higher likelihood of attempting suicide in the past year compared to non-Latinx LGBTQ+ young people, this difference disappears when accounting for immigration worries — illustrating a strong correlation between the two.

These data also illustrate protective factors unique to Latinx LGBTQ+ young people, which can play an important role in uplifting their well-being and preventing suicide. 

Strong connectivity to one’s cultural background was found to be one such protective factor. Nearly three-in-four Latinx LGBTQ+ young people (73%) said their race/ethnicity was a very important part of who they are, which was linked with 24% lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year. And generally, the more important Latinx LGBTQ+ young people’s race/ethnicity was to who they were, the lower their rate of past-year suicide attempts. Additionally, Latinx LGBTQ+ young people who report high levels of social support from family and friends, parents or caregivers who were accepting of their sexual orientation, and access to LGBTQ-affirming spaces, all reported lower rates of attempting suicide.

This report was created using data from a national sample of nearly 6,900 Latinx LGBTQ+ young people ages 13–24 who participated in The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Young People. The full report can be found here.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678. 

Methodology

The content and methodology for The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Young People were approved by an independent Institutional Review Board (IRB). This quantitative cross-sectional survey was conducted using an online platform between September and December 2022 among an analytic sample of over 28,000 LGBTQ+ young people ages 13 to 24 who resided in the United States, including 6,867 LGBTQ+ young people who either identified as exclusively Hispanic or Latino/x or who identified as multiracial Hispanic or Latino/x. Findings specific to Mexican, Cuban, and Puerto Rican LGBTQ+ young people are shared when sample sizes permit. Visit here for additional information on methodology.

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading organization working to end suicide among LGBTQ+ young people in the U.S. and beyond. The nonprofit operates several programs to help prevent and respond to the public health crisis of suicide among LGBTQ+ young people, including 24/7 free crisis services, innovative research, advocacy, public education, and peer support.

Media Inquiries:

Nicholas Turton (he/him)
[email protected]

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