Queering suicide prevention: Exploring the mental health, suicidal behaviour, and help-seeking of LGB young adults in Northern Ireland

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Background: Northern Ireland continues to be impacted by high suicide rates, with an average of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 in 2021, where one in every three deaths by suicide was someone under the age of thirty. Whilst it has been widely accepted that the distribution of suicide is patterned by systematic inequalities, exemplified by the experiences of LGBTQ+ youths, there remains a lack of comprehensive local evidence that can inform suicide prevention efforts. Method: The Student Psychological Intervention Trial (SPIT) examined emotional wellbeing, mental health, suicidal behaviour, and help-seeking among first year undergraduate students (n=1828) from across the four campuses of Ulster University, and from the Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT). Results: Results showed significant mental health disparities among LGB young adults aged 18-24 (n=209), with both lifetime and 12-month prevalence rates for depression, non-suicidal self-injury, post-traumatic stress symptomology and suicidal behaviour up to three times higher than for heterosexual and/or cis gender students. Further, the prevalence rates for suicidal ideation (46.6%), suicide planning (14%), and suicide attempt (14.2%) were significantly higher for LGB youths, with bisexual youths the most affected. Notably, results also highlighted that LGB youths had experienced higher rates of interpersonal trauma, both from adverse childhood experiences including emotional abuse (11.7% cf. 3.8%) and neglect (3.7% cf. 0.7%), and recent stressful experiences which may denote ‘minority stressors’, such as bullying (20.8% cf. 11.6%) and sexual harassment (17.2% cf. 7.3%). Regarding help-seeking, it was found that LGB youths were more likely to feel worried, embarrassed, or ashamed for seeking support and felt that they had fewer friends and/or family to support them with their mental health. Conclusions: Crucially, these findings underscore the critical need for tailored suicide prevention efforts which can address existing mental health disparities, and suicide risk, for LGBTQ+ young adults here in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2 Jun 2023


  • Suicide prevention
  • Mental health
  • Young people
  • Help seeking
  • Trauma exposure


Dive into the research topics of 'Queering suicide prevention: Exploring the mental health, suicidal behaviour, and help-seeking of LGB young adults in Northern Ireland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this