Griffith University researchers are performing extensive research to find the causes of suicides among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities.
It’s the first time such research has been done in three decades.
Lead researcher Delaney Skerrett, of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, said he was prompted by a lack of suicide statistics in LGBTI communities from the Queensland Suicide Register.
“Our study is the first in approximately 30 years to investigate the factors surrounding suicide deaths in LGBTI people — and the first ever in Australia,” Dr Skerrett said.
The research entails interviews to determine if a person’s sexuality or gender identity impact their decision to commit suicide.
John Mikelsons, executive director of the Queensland AIDS Council at the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities, said the research was incredibly important.
“That’s why QAHC is proud to be a partner with Griffith on it,’’ he said.
“With such high levels of mental illness, caused by the stigma and discrimination we face every day, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine that the LGBTI community are committing suicide at higher rates too.
“LGBTI Queenslanders have poorer mental health outcomes and higher rates of suicidality and self-harm than the rest of the population.’’
He said 41 per cent of gay and bisexual people had a mental disorder in the past 12 months compared with 20 per cent of heterosexual people.
“This is higher than for any age group, any income level, any area of residence, any education level, and any employment status.
“This is particularly important among transgender people where we estimate that more than a third currently meet the criteria for experiencing a major depressive episode, roughly one-fifth report current suicide ideation, and half of whom we believe have attempted suicide at least once in their life.