Research projects

Fatal suicidal behaviours in LGBT populations

Principal researchers

Professor Diego De Leo

Dr Kairi Kolves

Dr Delaney Skerrett



Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University



Award type

Beyond Blue National Priority Driven Research Program

Project completion year


Main Messages

  • Younger LGBT suicides were characterised principally by non-acceptance of sexuality/gender (by family but also by self). 
  • LGBT suicides were more likely than living controls to feel (very) bad about their identity and internalised trans/homophobia and internalised shame were also elevated. 
  • Dissatisfaction with appearance was greater in LGBT suicides vs. living controls. 
  • LGBT individuals who died by suicide went through ‘coming out’ milestones some 2 years earlier, on average, than living LGBT controls. 
  • There was high incidence of relationship conflict in the lives of LGBT people who died by suicide and older suicides were chiefly characterised by this. 
  • LGBT suicide cases were more likely than living LGBT people to have experienced a serious physical assault as well as a sexual assault. 
  • LGBT suicides had 23 times higher odds of a current major depressive episode than living LGBT people. Anxiety disorders were also more prevalent in LGBT suicides. 
  • Odds of a previous attempt were 9 times higher in LGBT suicides than living controls. 
  • The prevalence of substance use disorders was lower in LGBT than in the non-LGBT suicide cases but elevated in suicides compared to LGBT living controls. 
  • LGBT suicide cases were more likely to have been under the care of psychiatrist and to be on medication and been a resident of a correctional or mental health facility. 
  • There was a higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS in LGBT suicides than non-LGBT suicides but not between suicides and living controls. 
  • LGBT people may require targeted approaches in mental health services, school-based programs, and public health and stigma reduction campaigns. 
  • The need for services to be inclusive of sexuality and gender diversity is highlighted.

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