LGBTQ Asian American and Pacific Islander youth are at higher risk for suicide and other mental health challenges due to high rates of racial discrimination, according to a new report.
About 3,600 AAPI youth, aged 13-24, participated in the Trevor Project’s yearly national survey on queer youth mental health last year. This year’s report is one of the first of its kind to study the intersection between the AAPI and LGBTQ communities.
According to the study, 40% of AAPI LGBTQ youth have seriously considered suicide over the last year.
Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian youth experienced the highest rate among the demographic subcategories at 49%, followed by Korean American youth at 47%, Filipino American youth at 41%, Indian youth at 39%, Vietnamese youth at 31% and Chinese youth at 29%.
Half of transgender and nonbinary AAPI respondents reported that they seriously considered suicide, and over 1 in 5 reported a suicide attempt in the last year.
“These findings shine a light on the unique mental health outcomes and suicide risk of AAPI LGBTQ youth — a demographic that has largely been overlooked by the research world,” Myeshia Price, a senior research scientist at the Trevor Project, said in a statement.
The report revealed that more than 50% of AAPI LGBTQ youth encountered race-based discrimination over the last year. AAPI youth who experienced discrimination because of their race or immigration status reported significantly higher rates of suicide attempts than those who did not over the last year, according to the report.
The Trevor Project’s vice president of communications, Kevin Wong, said the findings indicate a need for mental health services that focus on AAPI LGBTQ youth.
“These data points show a critical need to invest in — whether it’s resources or suicide prevention efforts — for youth that are culturally responsive and reflect those diverse identities,” Wong explained.
The report also found that 41% of AAPI LGBTQ respondents have not come out about their sexuality to at least one parent, compared to 29% of the overall sample of LGBTQ youth.
“This research points to the unmistakable need to invest in mental health resources and suicide prevention efforts for AAPI LGBTQ youth that are culturally salient, reflective of their diverse identities, and equip parents, other family members, and communities to better support them,” Price said.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For a list of international suicide hotlines, click here.