Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Linked to Drop in Teen Suicide Attempts

Since the legalization of same-sex marriage, suicide attempts among teenagers have dropped significantly according to a study from John Hopkins University.

The study showed that suicide attempts among high school students fell by around 7 percent following the implementation of the law, and was even more significant among gay, lesbian, and bisexual teenagers whose rates dropped by 14 percent.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the second leading cause of death for those aged between 15 and 24, with suicide rates much higher among those who identify as sexual minorities than heterosexual students.

Julia Raifman, co-author of the research from Johns Hopkins University, said she hoped the research would help to draw wider attention to the scale of the issue among sexual minorities. “I would hope that policymakers and the public would consider the potential health implications of laws and policies affecting LGBT rights,” she said.

Implementation of laws that promote acceptance of LGBTQ people are beneficial because they can reduce the societal stigma associated with being a sexual minority.

“LGBTQ youth are incredibly vulnerable to parental rejection, bullying and harassment at school, and lack of social support,” said Ellen Kahn, director of the Children, Youth and Families Program at the Human Rights Campaign. “What we can learn from this study, and what we know from hearing directly from LGBTQ youth, is that the convergence of a supportive family, a safe and welcoming school, legal protections, and being equal in the eyes of the law can provide the foundation necessary to thrive and flourish into adulthood.”

The legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States is nearing its second year of implementation after the Supreme Court made the ruling on June 27th, 2015.