Over 80% of LGBTQ+ youth have been assaulted or threatened, and every instance of victimization in an LGBTQ+ person’s life more than doubles the likelihood of self-harming.

There are many resources available at the PFLAG, The Family Acceptance Project, and the Human Rights Campaign websites. The Coming Out as a Supporter Guide from the Human Rights Campaign is a great place to start and can be downloaded for free at their website.

Instead of trying to change their sexual or gender identity, work to reduce prejudice and discrimination.

The American Psychological Association tells us that trying to change someone’s sexual or gender identity has negative impacts. The APA instead recommends increasing educational services and social supports that provide accurate information, increase family and school support, and reduce rejection.

If you know someone who is LGBTQ+ and thinking about taking their life, there are ways you can help them.


Too many LGBTQ people have attempted suicide.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual kids are three times more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide at some point in their lives.

LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely to make a medically serious attempt at suicide than other young people.

Especially high suicide attempt rates have been reported among lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who are African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American.

Lesbian and bisexual women and girls are twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who are straight.

Gay and bisexual guys are four times as likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual men and boys.

Nearly half of young trans people have seriously considered taking their lives and a quarter have attempted suicide.

In one study, 41% of trans adults said they had attempted suicide. The same study found that 61% of trans people who were victims of physical assault had attempted suicide.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people who come from families that reject or do not accept them are over eight times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them.
Each time an LGBTQ person is a victim of physical or verbal harassment or abuse, they become two and a half times more likely to hurt themselves.

Conversion or reparative therapy are ineffective and extremely harmful for LGBTQ people. These therapies can lead to increased depression, substance abuse, and suicide attempts.
Suicidal lesbian, gay, and bisexual people were more likely to attempt suicide after seeking religious or spiritual treatment.

Note: This website only includes information about suicide attempts and not deaths by suicide. That is because accurate information is not always collected and reported about people’s sexualities and gender identities after their deaths. For this reason, there are not reliable statistics regarding suicide rates of LGBTQ people.


According to the CDC, 90% of the people who die by suicide have a mental illness – such as depression or anxiety – or substance abuse problem at the time of their death.

Depression, anxiety, and mood disorders are common in the LGBTQ community. One reason for this is the stress LGBTQ people face because of prejudice and discrimination; like family rejection, bullying, harassment, and violence. These experiences cause low self-esteem, isolation, and negative sexual and gender identity. If those feelings last for a long time, they can grow into anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.

Many people use alcohol and drugs to try to avoid their thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse usually end up adding to feelings of pain, guilt, and shame.
Sometimes people think that taking their lives is the only way to stop their pain. But most people (even those with the most severe cases of depression, anxiety, and drug or alcohol abuse) can get better with treatment.

We know that at times things can look really bad, hopeless and like nothing will ever get any better. But it can and it will! You just have to stop, take a breath and reach out to someone who cares because they are out there and they will help you.


  • Thinking about, talking about, or planning suicide
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol, especially if they increase their use or change drugs
  • Rejection from family
  • Anxiety, restlessness, and/or feeling overwhelmed
  • Recklessness or high risk-taking behavior
  • Frequent anger
  • Feeling trapped or like there is no way out
  • Sexual orientation and gender-related prejudice and stressors
  • Bullying, harassment, violence, physical abuse, and other forms of victimization
  • Feeling no sense of purpose, hopelessness, or unmotivated
  • Withdrawing from family, friends, work, school, and/or activities they used to enjoy
  • Stress from prejudice and discrimination (family rejection, harassment, bullying, violence)
  • Feeling lonely or like there is no one they can talk to
  • Sleep problems (either too much or too little)
  • Unusual appetite that results in noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Saying goodbye to people or giving away their most valuable possessions
  • Feeling like no one would care if they are gone or like it would be easier for everyone if they were gone
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as obtaining a gun or other lethal means
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Sexual abuse
  • Discriminatory laws and public policies
  • Sources

These warning signs were compiled by a task force of expert clinical-researchers and ‘translated’ for the general public.

Marshal MP, Dietz LJ, Friedman MS, et al. Suicidality and depression disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth: a meta-analytic review. J Adolescent Health. 2011;49(2):115–123.
Remafedi G. Suicidality in a venue-based sample of young men who have sex with men. J Adolescent Health.2002;31(4):305–310.
Paul JP, Catania J, Pollack L, et al. Suicide attempts among gay and bisexual men: lifetime prevalence and antecedents. Am J Public Health. 2002;92(8):1338–1345.
Meyer IH, Dietrich J, Schwartz S. Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders and suicide attempts in diverse lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations. Am J Public Health. 2008;98(6):1004–1006.
King M, Semlyen J, Tai SS, et al. A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people. BMC Psychiatry. 2008;8:70.
Grossman, A.H. & D’Augelli, A.R. (2007). Transgender Youth and Life-Threatening Behaviors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviors.37(5), 527-37.
Grant JM, Mottet LA, Tanis J, Harrison J, Herman JL, Keisling M. Injustice at every turn: a report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; 2011.
Family Acceptance Project™. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics. 123(1), 346-52.
IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Ending conversion therapy: supporting and affirming LGBTQ youth. 2015.
Meyer, Iian H., Merilee TEYLAN, and SHARON SCHWARTZ. “The Role of Help-Seeking in Preventing Suicide Attempts among Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals.” The Official Journal of the American Association of Suicidology (2014): 1-12. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.
Haas, A. P., Eliason, M., Mays, V. M., Mathy, R. M., Cochran, S. D., D’Augelli, A. R. . . . Clayton, P. J. (2011). Suicide and suicide risk in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations: Review and recommendations. Journal of Homosexuality, 58(1), 10–51.
Eisenberg ME, Resnick MD. Suicidality among gay, lesbian and bisexual youth: the role of protective factors. J Adolesc Health. 2006;39(5):662–668.
Haas AP, Eliason M, Mays VM, et al. Suicide and suicide risk in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations: review and recommendations. J Homosex. 2011;58(1):10–51.
2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action: A Report of the U.S. Surgeon General and of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
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Grant JM, Mottet LA, Tanis J, Harrison J, Herman JL, Keisling M. Injustice at every turn: a report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; 2011.
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DSM-IV Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder


There are some factors which have proven to be protective factors that reduce the risk of suicide for LGBTQ people. There have also been risk factors that have been shown to escalate chances that an LGBTQ person may attempt suicide. Efforts should be made to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors in the lives of your loved ones.

  • Protective Factors
  • Family acceptance
  • Connections to friends and others who care about the person at risk
  • A sense of safety
  • Positive sexual and gender identity
  • Access to quality, culturally appropriate, and LGBTQ-affirming mental health treatment
  • Improved identification of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental disorders
  • School safety


Places to go for help and information
The Trevor Project
Trans Lifeline
SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Human Rights Campaign
National LGBTQ Task Force
The Trevor Project
Transgender Law Center
Center for American Progress
Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE)