Researchers at NYU and the University of Arizona have been given $2.8 million by the National Institute of Mental Health to uncover why LGBT teens are at such high risk for suicide. Um, maybe because they get dumped on by their peers, parents and society?
We’d like our money now.
In all seriousness, though, it’s obvious something has to be done about issue of LGBT-youth suicides. More than 1,000 LGBT kids ages 15 to 21 will be interviewed in this survey, which will include participants from San Francisco, New York and Tuscon. “I really hope that through this study we can identify what makes a difference in schools and families to help LGBT youth,” said Stephen Russell, director of UA’s Institute for Children, Youth and Families.
But how useful is a study like this? Interviewing kids from large urban areas—especially gay havens like New York and SF—is hardly going to give you insight into what goes through the mind of a desperate teen in rural Mississippi or suburban Nevada. Nevermind the fact that getting anyone, let alone kids, to speak frankly to a stranger about sexuality and suicide is no cakewalk.
What’s more, its pretty hard to quantify something like suicidal thoughts. And are those thoughts because of being bullied, general teen angst or a clinical depression caused by something else?
Do we even know if gay-youth suicides are a rising epidemic? Or is the recent media attention just shining a spotlight on a longstanding problem?
That money could be better spent: Train educators on how to intervene in bullying situations. Fund public-school GSAs to give gay kids a safe space. Hell, buy them some body armor and a taser.
Source: International Business Times