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Saturday 24th of August 2019

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Lesbian, Gay Youth at Higher Risk for Self-Harm

Tuesday 4th of June 2019 | North America, United States
US News
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An alarming number of teens practice self-harm, but lesbian, gay and bisexual teens may be more than twice as likely as their straight peers to cut, hit or bruise themselves, new research warns.

While between 10% and 20% of heterosexual teens engaged in these dangerous behaviors, 38% to 53% of lesbian, gay and bisexual teens did, the study found.

"Rates of non-suicidal self-injury were consistently elevated among lesbian, gay and bisexual youth, compared to heterosexual peers," said study author Richard Liu.

What's more, "rates of [self-harm] have decreased among heterosexual youth from 2005 through 2017, but not among [lesbian and gay] youth over the same time period," added Liu. He is an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island.

That is a "striking" development, he said, "given that the very high [lesbian, gay and bisexual] rates meant that there was greater room for potential improvement."

What explains the trend? Liu suggested that the "stigma and discrimination experienced by these youth may be contributing factors," putting these teens at greater risk for "poor mental health outcomes, including depression, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors."

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