A recent study highlights a concerning trend of increased suicidal ideation among older transgender adults in the United States.
It found that this section of the population faces a higher risk compared to the general adult population, underlining the urgent need for comprehensive support and mental health resources.
A significant study, published in the journal Aging & Mental Health, has revealed alarming rates of suicidal ideation among older transgender adults in the United States. This research, coinciding with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, shows that over a quarter (25.8%) of older transgender individuals considered suicide in the past year, a rate markedly higher than the estimated 4.7% in the general adult population and 11–17% among U.S. older adults.
The study’s co-author, Dr. Thomas Alex Washington of California State University, Long Beach, emphasises the distress faced by many in this group, compounded by multiple adverse factors. The research, utilising data from the 2015 US National Transgender Survey, involved 3,724 transgender adults aged 50 or older.
It was found that suicidal ideation decreases with age, ranging from 31.7% in those aged 50-54 to 12.0% in those 70 or older. The study investigated the syndemic effects across various life domains, including workplace issues, professional interactions, public service use, personal safety, and socioeconomic disadvantages.
All these areas were found to significantly increase suicide contemplation risk, with a 96% to 1,552% rise depending on the specific challenges faced.
Dr. Hugh Klein, a fellow co-author, notes that while the risk of suicide contemplation decreases with age, possibly due to resilience and personal growth, the pervasive challenges in various life domains amplify the risk.
However, the study, based on data from 2015, may not fully reflect the current situation due to its age and limited scope.
The authors call for future research to broaden the scope of factors examined, compare different age groups, and explore nuanced aspects of mental health among older transgender individuals to better understand and address their needs and risks.