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Exploring suicidality in LGBTQIA+ people

Duration: 1 year (2023 – 2024)

Throughout the last few years, large parts of the population have seen a deterioration in mental health and well-being. During the pandemic, for example, the WHO estimated a global increase of 25% in anxiety and depression (WHO, 2022). Certain groups among those living with serious mental ill-health (SMIs) may also be at extra risk of suicide attempts and suicide ideation as they belong to different vulnerable groups. In particular, are those within  LGBTQI+ communities. A study undertaken in 2020 showed that Young LGBTQI+ people in Europe are up to two and a half times more likely to have suicidal ideation and previous suicide attempts compared to heterosexuals (Gambadauro, 2020). Stonewall’s “LGBT in Britain – Health Report” estimated that 13% of LGBTQI+ people aged 18-24 attempted to take their own life (compared to the national average of fewer than 1%) (Bachmann & Gooch, 2018).  Finally, according to a study that looked at lifetime suicide attempts in adult sexual minority groups, 30% of 18-24-year-olds and 21% of 52-57-year-olds reported at least one suicide attempt (Ilan H. Meyer, 2021).

While several quantitative studies exist looking at different rates of suicide and suicide attempts among the groups individually, there is a lack of information on the experiences of people living with SMI who are also part of  LGBTQA+ communities. This lack of understanding forms the basis and rationale behind the second part of GAMIAN-Europe’s  #BreakingSuicideStigma campaign to focus on LGBTQA+ communities’ experiences, the double (or more) burden of discrimination they face and the main challenges that they have to go through.

This project explored and raised awareness of the mental health challenges and suicidality faced by individuals from different LGBTQIA+ groups. This research employed a structured methodology involving two interconnected online
workshops held on 11 and 27 July 2023. Conceived in collaboration with The Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks (GAMIAN-Europe), The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO), and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) LGBTQIA+ Special Interest Group, the workshops aimed to elicit comprehensive insights into the experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals grappling with severe mental ill health and history
of suicidality. 

From the insight that was provided in two workshops by the young experts with lived experience, we managed to create an interactive toolkit that looked at the specific needs and challenges faced by those within this groups. We also created a joint policy statement with recommendations for policymakers from local government to European level. Finally, we asked three different participants from the workshops to submit testimonial videos narrating their journey with mental health challenges and suicidality

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