A recent study published in BMJ Mental Health sheds light on the relationship between sexual anxiety and suicide risk in young people seeking gender identity treatment. The study, led by PhD researcher Sami-Matti Ruuska from the University of Tampere, found that the risk of suicide associated with sexual anxiety may be overestimated.

The study focused on suicide rates among young Finnish individuals who sought treatment for gender dysphoria at gender identity clinics. Although suicides were rare, the study found that those with serious mental health problems were at slightly higher risk compared to a control group. However, psychiatric illness was found to be a significant factor in predicting suicidal mortality in young people, not gender anxiety.

The researchers emphasized the importance of identifying and treating mental health disorders in young people as a key step in preventing suicide. They also cautioned against rushing into transgender treatment based solely on the presence of suicidal thoughts. The study included 2,083 participants under the age of 23 who sought gender identity assessment between 1996 and 2019. When mental health problems requiring specialized care were taken into account, the risk of suicide was not significantly different between those with gender anxiety and the control group.

Overall, the findings suggest that a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to suicide risk in young people with sexual anxiety is essential for effective prevention strategies.

By Samantha Johnson

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