Over Half of LGBTQ Youth in New National Survey Have Been Diagnosed With Eating Disorders

NEW YORK CITY — Feb. 28, 2018

****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE****

A new national survey of LGBTQ youth found that a majority of those surveyed have been diagnosed with an eating disorder. Even more shocking, half of the LGBTQ youth surveyed who have not been diagnosed suspect they have an eating disorder.

The disturbing results were part of a new national survey, designed to better understand how LGBTQ youth are affected by eating disorders, and was conducted by The Trevor Project, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)  and Reasons Eating Disorder Center. The results were released in conjunction with National Eating Disorders Association Awareness Week, held this year between Feb. 26 and March 4 with the theme “Let’s Get Real.”

The results illustrate the need for increased support for this community. Of the LGBTQ youth surveyed, 54% of the participants indicated that they had already been diagnosed with an eating disorder. Of those diagnosed with an eating disorder, 58% have considered suicide.

“We were stunned by these results,” said Amit Paley, The Trevor Project’s CEO and Executive Director. “We need to do far more to help the alarming number of LGBTQ youth living with eating disorders and struggling with thoughts of suicide. We are grateful to partner with NEDA and Reasons Eating Disorder Center to shed light on this public health crisis and help save more LGBTQ lives.”

“We are honored to partner with the Trevor Project on this critical survey,” said Claire Mysko, CEO of NEDA. “The results make it clear that troubling numbers of LGBTQ youth are affected by eating disorders and self-harm. Together, we are working to raise awareness and put live-saving resources into the hands of those in need. It’s time to get real about these issues and ensure that everyone has access to the support they deserve.”

The first-of-its-kind survey includes a sample of 1,305 self-identified LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 24 from across the country. The report shows:

  • 54% of LGBTQ youth respondents reported having been diagnosed with an eating disorder compared to 5% of the heterosexual peers.
  • Trans youth who identify as straight are the most at risk, with 71% of those having been diagnosed with an eating disorder, anorexia being the most common.
  • There is a dangerous overlap in the consideration of suicide and eating disorders, with 58% of LGBTQ youth respondents who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder having considered suicide.

Stigma and stereotypes, especially amongst LGBTQ youth, make this a hard issue for some to talk about and seek help for. The goal of NEDAwareness Week 2018 is to bust myths, elevate marginalized voices, and reach those in need with appropriate support and resources.

Read the full results on The Trevor Project website here: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/eating-disorders-among-lgbtq-youth/

Learn more about NEDAwareness Week: www.NEDAwareness.org

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our Trevor Lifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org

ABOUT THE NATIONAL EATING DISORDERS ASSOCIATION

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders.

For more information or to chat with a trained volunteer, visit www.MyNEDA.org

Or contact NEDA’s Live Helpline @ 800-931-2237
Monday–Thursday, 9am–9pm (EST) / Friday, 9am–5pm (EST)
In a crisis? Text NEDA to 741741; 24 hours a day/seven days a week

ABOUT REASONS EATING DISORDER CENTER

Reasons Eating Disorder Center, located in Los Angeles, California, offers eating disorder treatment programs for adolescents and adults who suffer from Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge-Eating, ARFID, and other related forms of disordered eating. We offer inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs for the treatment of eating disorders. We are a gender inclusive treatment program.

CONTACTS

Calvin Stowell – [email protected]

Greenleaf & Associates — 323-660-5800

Vicki Greenleaf — [email protected]

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Learn more at: www.nedawareness.org

Follow #NEDAwareness

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/NationalEatingDisordersAssociation

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/NEDAstaff

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/neda


Alarming Rise in Death by Suicide Among 10-14 Year Old Youth

Data released in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Report shows that the rate of death by suicide among adolescents, 10 – 14 years old, has been on the rise and is now higher than that of death by motor vehicles.  In 2009 approximately 1 youth per 100,000 died by suicide, compared to 2014 when approximately 2 youth per 100,000 took their own lives.

At the Trevor Project, the nation’s only accredited suicide prevention program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth under 25, we hear from youth every day about the struggles they are facing.  According to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) report, we know that LGB young people in 9th to 12th grade attempt suicide at a rate more than four times that of their heterosexual peers.  While reliable national statistics for LGB youth in the 10 – 14 year old range do not exist, we know from the daily crisis calls, chats, and texts we receive that they too are at risk for suicidal ideation, particularly during this critical time in their identity development.

Of note, the rate of death by motor vehicles has dropped significantly over the same period that the rate of death by suicide has increased, among 10 – 14 year olds. The success in combatting motor vehicle deaths is attributable to a comprehensive approach including infrastructure improvements, policy and system change, partnerships, education and awareness, along with a major investment of over $576 million by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration funded in grants to promote motor vehicle safety and the U.S. If similar comprehensive, multifaceted national suicide prevention efforts were implemented and brought to scale, as outlined in the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, this country would have the potential to reverse the trend in suicide mortality.

“At The Trevor Project we are very disturbed to know that suicide is rising among the youth of this nation.  We receive calls from youth as young as 9 years old who are looking for support as they struggle with their sexual and gender identity,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project.  “It is imperative that more resources need to go toward preventing suicide in this country.  It is unconscionable that significant dollars are not allocated when we know that suicide can be prevented.  We call upon our national, state and local leaders to take action immediately.”

While incredibly informative about prevalence, the report does not include information on the causes of these trends.  There are certainly many contributing factors to consider, but is it also very important to note what can be done to foster resilience and safety for LGBTQ and other youth.  Families, schools, and communities must come together to reduce the risk for youth suicide by creating safe, connected environments that foster resiliency, non-violent problem solving skills, and coping skills.  In particular, the public can take part in improving the lives of young people who report being LGBTQ by showing them that we all care about their mental health:

  • Connect youth to Trevor’s crisis services.  We save young lives 24/7 through the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.  TrevorChat.org is available 3-9 pm Eastern Time daily, and youth can text TrevorText to 1-202-304-1200 Thursday – Friday 4-8pm Eastern Time. Young people can also find friends on our online safe supportive community TrevorSpace.org as well as resources at our Support Center.
  • Create classrooms of peers who are better equipped to help through acceptance and support with Lifeguard, Trevor’s free online suicide prevention and crisis intervention education program for middle and high school students.
  • Advocate for the adoption of comprehensive, inclusive suicide prevention policies in school districts around the country and encourage the use of our Model School Policy which can help school districts draft suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies based on their specific needs.

Help create a bright future for LGBTQ and all youth by showing that you truly care and that they can thrive, they matter, and they deserve support.  More resources are available at www.thetrevorproject.org.  The Trevor Project is a partner of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the public-private partnership advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and championing suicide prevention as a national priority.