General News Research Suicide — 05 February 2014
LGBTI suicides in Australian-first study

The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) at Griffith University is conducting the study on behalf of Beyond Blue.

It was prompted by documented high rates of non-fatal suicide attempts amongst LGBTI people and is investigating if they constitute a unique risk-group.

AISRAP researcher Dr Delaney Skerrett says it’s the first time a study has been done on fatal suicidal behaviour amongst the LGBTI population in Australia.bigstock_Hot_Couple_203338

“You get a lot of research done on the non-fatal behaviours, suicide attempts, thoughts about suicide,” he said.

“But it’s a lot harder to do the research on people who have actually died because often that kind of information isn’t recorded when people die, that they were actually LGBTI.”

The research is made of two parts and aims to identify the factors surrounding LGBTI suicide deaths.

Firstly researchers have analysed the Queensland suicide register records for the last 10 years.

They are now interviewing family and friends of a LGBTI people who have committed suicide.

Dr Skerrett says it’s an area that needs to be specifically addressed to identify the unique issues.

“The idea is then is that this research will inform different preventative measures and interventions with LGBTI people,” he said.

“How we can specifically address the risk factors for those people.”

The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) at Griffith University is conducting the study on behalf of Beyond Blue.

It was prompted by documented high rates of non-fatal suicide attempts amongst LGBTI people and is investigating if they constitute a unique risk-group.

AISRAP researcher Dr Delaney Skerrett says it’s the first time a study has been done on fatal suicidal behaviour amongst the LGBTI population in Australia.

“You get a lot of research done on the non-fatal behaviours, suicide attempts, thoughts about suicide,” he said.

“But it’s a lot harder to do the research on people who have actually died because often that kind of information isn’t recorded when people die, that they were actually LGBTI.”

The research is made of two parts and aims to identify the factors surrounding LGBTI suicide deaths.

Firstly researchers have analysed the Queensland suicide register records for the last 10 years.

They are now interviewing family and friends of a LGBTI people who have committed suicide.

Dr Skerrett says it’s an area that needs to be specifically addressed to identify the unique issues.

“The idea is then is that this research will inform different preventative measures and interventions with LGBTI people,” he said.

“How we can specifically address the risk factors for those people.”

Dr Skerret says the findings can help organisations like Beyond Blue and guide mental health services in being more inclusive of and sensitive to LGBTI people.

“There are higher levels of psychological distress amongst LGBTI people,” he said.

“Higher levels of depression, higher levels of anxiety and also those non-fatal suicidal behaviours.”

The AISRAP is still looking for volunteers to be interviewed for the research.

This article first appeared on ‘ABC’ on 3 February 2014.

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(1) Reader Comment

  1. I thought we were changing the vocabulary around suicide…. shouldn’t people in the field know the effects of the words “committing suicide” on those who are bereaved by suicide? I think it is seriously important to use different words. A person died by suicide, they didn’t commit anything…. Maybe some food for thoughts.

    Good luck with this important research.

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