New research released reveals there could be a link when it comes to same-sex marriage laws and teen suicide attempts. The new study published on Monday February 20th found that the rate of suicide attempts among high schoolers lowered within states that had legalized same-sex marriages. The study reviewed 32 states where same-sex marriage was legalized, from 1999 to 2015. It’s important to note, the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the United States of America occurred in the summer of 2015.
CNN reported that the researchers note the link between the two is not a direct cause, however the comparison is quite interesting when you take a closer look at the suicide attempt numbers within marginalized groups.
As per the study, lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens had double the numbers around suicide attempts versus those high schoolers who were straight. These numbers decreased by seven percent for the entire population and 14 percent for those who were gay, lesbian, or bisexual. This decrease in numbers are vital, and as the researchers state, suicide is ranked second when it comes to the leading cause behind death when it comes to youth aged 15 to 24.
In fact, as per the Trevor Project, an organization assisting with suicide prevention for LGBT youth, teens in this demographic are four times likelier to try and commit suicide, compared to their heterosexual peers.
The team goes on to note that along with this current study and past research, there is much evidence that links same-sex marriage laws having a positive effect when it comes to mental health and the LGBT community, which extensionally helps with suicide attempt rates.
As the correlation seems indirect, but not proven, the study team does say that more research is required; but the information provided in the study can significantly assist when it comes to public policies moving forward. It’s also important to note that the research did have some limits: the study was dependent on self-reporting and didn’t not set accounts for socioeconomic elements or race.