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Report shows housing instability linked to increased suicide risk with LGBTQ youth

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The Trevor Project published a report Thursday that found that LGBTQ youth who experienced homelessness or housing instability had higher rates of mental health challenges – including depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts – compared to their LGBTQ peers with stable housing.

The report also provided a series of recommendations on how to prevent LGBTQ youth homelessness and improve current policies, programs, and practices to better serve LGBTQ youth.

Major findings include:

  • 28% of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing homelessness or housing instability at some point in their lives, including nearly half of Native/Indigenous LGBTQ youth and 37 % of transgender and nonbinary youth. 
  • LGBTQ youth who reported housing instability or homelessness had two to four times the odds of reporting depression, anxiety, self-harm, considering suicide, and attempting suicide compared to those who did not report any housing instability. 
  • LGBTQ youth who reported experiencing homelessness or housing instability also had higher rates of victimization, being in foster care, and food insecurity.

“LGBTQ youth are overrepresented among young people experiencing homelessness and this report makes clear that we desperately need more resources to confront the overlapping crises of housing instability and suicide,” said Jonah DeChants, a research scientist at The Trevor Project. “We all have a role to play in fostering acceptance of LGBTQ youth, which on a basic level, will help address driving factors for LGBTQ youth homelessness, such as anti-LGBTQ discrimination, victimization, and family rejection.”

The Trevor Project said that policymakers need increase funding for safe, low-barrier housing programs and to make sure those places are ready to help LGBTQ youth. The organization also said there is a need for anti-discrimination and anti-bullying polices as well as better family counseling and exit planning for foster care.

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