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Research finds no link between gender anxiety and suicide risk in Finnish youth


Apr 3, 2024

A Finnish research group published a study in BMJ Mental Health in February that suggests the suicide risk related to sexual anxiety and transidentity may have been overestimated. The study looked at the suicide rates among young Finnish people who have sought help at gender identity clinics due to gender anxiety. While suicides were found to be slightly more common in this group compared to a control group, the difference was attributed to serious mental health problems rather than gender anxiety itself.

The study, conducted by doctoral researcher and doctor specializing in youth psychiatry Sami-Matti Ruuska from the University of Tampere, found that almost three out of four young people who applied to gender identity clinics had received psychiatric treatment in a specialized hospital. The study also highlighted the importance of addressing mental health disorders in young people suffering from sexual anxiety to prevent suicides, rather than solely focusing on gender reassignment treatments.

The researchers pointed out that while it is important to address suicidal thoughts in young people with sexual anxiety, this does not necessarily translate to a higher suicide risk. The study did not find evidence to support the claim that gender reassignment treatments are necessary to prevent suicides. Instead, the focus should be on identifying and treating underlying mental health issues in young people to prevent suicide.

The study included data from young people under 23 who visited gender identity clinics between 1996 and 2019. By June 2022, 11 individuals from the study group had died, with seven of them committing suicide. Comparatively, 44 individuals from the control group had died, with 13 suicides. Overall, the study found that the suicide risk among those with gender anxiety did not differ significantly from the comparison group when mental health disorders requiring specialized medical treatment were taken into account. The results suggest that mental health treatment and support are crucial in addressing suicide risk in young people with sexual anxiety.

By editor

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