Suicide and rainbow communities

— Skylight Trust

​Aotearoa has the highest rate of youth suicide in the developed world, with rates for LGBTQI+ people, even higher.

If you are concerned about your immediate safety or the safety of someone else – ring 111

Rates of suicide and self-harm in Aotearoa are high by OECD standards. Homosexual youth rates of mental distress, suicidal and self-harm behaviours have been measured up to 12 times the rate for heterosexual youth (Christchurch Health and Development Study 2005). Rates for trans* (transgender or gender-queer) people, are even higher.

A report commissioned and published as part of the Ministry of Health's Suicide Prevention Research Fund in 2012, found that LGBTQI+ people have higher lifetime risk for mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, substance misuse and eating disorders, than their peers.

Research shows that there are different factors that contribute to increase the risk of suicide in LGBTQI+ communities, especially in young people, such as growing up in harmful environments, being rejected at home, school, church or by other communities, being bullied, the lack of access to safe or supportive spaces and the lack of mental health care.

It is the responsibility of everyone, to create safe and nurturing environments. Many LGBTQI+ people face discrimination, bullying, social exclusion and other challenges, that could lead to them developing mental health problems. Negative life experiences can result in mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or behaviour whether you are LGBTQI+ or not and it is important to seek help as soon as possible.

How can you support a LGBTQI+ young person

  • Talk with and listen to them. Find a way that invites them to have an open discussion about sexual orientation and/or gender identity, as this will help them feel loved and supported.
  • Provide support. Respond calmly and use respectful language.
  • Stay involved. Make an effort to know their friends and to know what they are doing, as this can help them stay safe and feel cared about.
  • Be proactive. You can access many organisations and online information resources to learn more about LGBTQI+ needs.

If you or someone you know is facing tough times Skylight can offer support through counselling and/or referral to other organisations, or helpful information through our resource centre and library.

There are a lot of great resources from other organisations across Aotearoa that you may find helpful - check out our Where to find support page.

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Resources Available at Skylight

Skylight is here to help you through difficult times. We can assist you in a variety of ways with information appropriate for your situation. You are welcome to visit us and receive free information and a support pack from our resource centre and borrow books from the specialist library. We also facilitate Professional Development training and offer Counselling support services for children, young people, family/whānau and individuals who are experiencing tough times.

Request a Pack Library

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Our online shop features Skylight's own publications and other specialist titles from New Zealand and around the world. Search titles, keywords or category headings by clicking the shop button.