Depression and suicide risk amongst LGBTQ youth has been extensively studied. However, a new study reveals a way to lower these dangers for trans youth.
Researchers Stephen T. Russell, Amanda M. Pollitt, Gu Li, and Arnold H. Grossman at the University of Texas at Austin and beyond, published a study examining the relationship between calling a teen by their chosen name and mental health among trans youth.
They studied data from 129 transgender and gender nonconfirming youth aged 15 to 21 across three US cities.
The group specifically looked at the use of chosen names in various contexts along with depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior.
The Journal of Adolescent Health published the article earlier this year.
Respect and empathy lead to less suicidal thoughts
Unsurprisingly, the study found that teens called by their chosen names experience less depression and suicidal thoughts.
71% experienced less depressive symptoms when they could use their chosen name at work, school, home, and with friends.
Meanwhile, in these same situations, 34% experienced less thoughts of suicide and there was also a 65% reduction in suicide attempts.
‘Many kids who are transgender have chosen a name that is different than the one that they were given at birth,’ Russell said in a press release. ‘We showed that the more contexts or settings where they were able to use their preferred name, the stronger their mental health was.’
Russell has long done research on LGBTI youth.
Previously, he found 1 in 3 trans youth considered suicide. This was nearly double the rate of their peers.
‘It’s practical to support young people in using the name that they choose,’ he continued. ‘It’s respectful and developmentally appropriate.’