ADVERTISMENT Josh Davis by Josh Davis 21 FEB 2017, 13:06 A new study has been found hat when a state legalizes same-sex marriage it contribute to a fall in rates of suicide among teens. Recent research into the effects the law has on young people’s health showed that the influence is seen not only among those who identify as LGBTQ but also among all youth alike. Released in JAMA Pediatrics, the report examined that, during 1999 and 2015, the adoption of same-sex marriages in 32 of the 35 US states that have signed it into law impacted the suicide rate of over 760,000 pupils. This was then compared to the 15 non-legalized states. Taking other opposing factors into account, they observed that the teen suicide rate dropped among all students by 7 percent and among LGB students by 14 percent even more remarkably.
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“These are high school students, so they aren’t getting married anytime soon, for the most part,” explained Julia Raifman, who led the study, in a statement. “Still, permitting same-sex marriage reduces the structural stigma associated with sexual orientation. There may be something about having equal rights – even if they have no immediate plans to take advantage of them – that makes students feel less stigmatized and more hopeful for the future.”
Suicide has long been known as a major threat among youth and is currently the second leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 24 years. This issue is often amplified for those who identify as LGBTQ, where 29 percent of reported attempted suicide in the last year compared to 6 percent heterosexual teens. This issue is often amplified for those who identify as LGBTQ, where 29 percent of reported attempted suicide in the last year compared to 6 percent heterosexual teens.
The negative attitudes towards LGBTQ people are believed to be the driving force behind this, placing teenagers identified as LGBTQ at an elevated risk of violence relative with straight teens. This ranges from bullying to physical assault and harassment. For example, those young people who come from “highly rejecting” families are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than those teenagers with more accepting parents. Yet it’s important to bear in mind that suicide is still rare, and most people get through the dark times.
“We can all agree that reducing adolescent suicide attempts is a good thing, regardless of our political views,” said Raifman. “Policymakers need to be aware that policies on sexual minority rights can have a real effect on the mental health of adolescents. The policies at the top can dictate in ways both positive and negative what happens further down.”
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