Research shows that LGBT youth report higher rates
of anti-LGBT harassment and bullying than straight
youth. But not every person who is the target of
anti-LGBT bullying is LGBT. Many who are bullied are
targeted because of their perceived sexual orientation
or because they do not conform to someone’s
expectations about gender.
The relationship between bullying and suicide is
complex. Research indicates that persistent bullying
can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection,
exclusion and despair, as well as to depression and
anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior.
However, it is also important to note that the large
majority of people who experience bullying do not
become suicidal. Suggesting that suicide is a natural
response to bullying can lead media to emphasize
details that could increase contagion risk. If at-risk
people see their own experiences of bullying, isolation
or exclusion reflected in stories of those who have died,
they may be more likely to think of suicide as a solution
to problems they are experiencing.
Whenever possible, focus discussions on the need
to systemically address anti-LGBT bullying—but
do so in ways that don’t increase suicide contagion
risk. Avoid taking shortcuts (for example, avoid saying
“bullying causes suicide”) or using terms like “bullycide.”
Instead, connect the need for bullying prevention back
to the responsibility of individuals (like parents, family
and friends), institutions (like schools), laws and society
to ensure and promote the health, safety and overall
well-being of people of all ages.
What can we as a community continue to do to help?
What will be the last straw to bullying?
How many deaths have to occur?…..
When will it end?