Understanding Your Risk – Dr. Amelia Hall

Amelia R. Hall, Psy.D., holds a Doctor of Psychology degree in clinical psychology, with a special concentration in diversity and multicultural related issues.

Understanding your Risk!

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017 states the following facts.

  • Each year 44,193 Americans die by suicide
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US
  • For every suicide there are 25 attempts
  • Suicide costs the US $51 Billion annually

Did you know that mood (e.g., depression) and substance use (e.g., cannabis) disorders are known risk factors for suicide?

Here are some stats:

  • Racial or ethnic minority (e.g., Black and Latino) individuals have lower lifetime prevalence rates of mood and substance use disorders
  • In contrast, Black and Latino LGB youth have higher prevalence rates of suicide attempts than White youth
  • According to O’Donnell, Meyer, and Schwartz (2011), most suicide attempts in the LGB community occur by or before the age 24-years-old
  • Lifetime suicide attempt rates in the LGB community range from 10% to 40%, compared to 0.4% to 5.1% in the heterosexual population.

The Minority Stress Model (Meyer, 2003) suggests that excess prejudice, stigma, and discrimination (e.g., family rejection, and self- and other labeling) encountered by LGB individuals may typically lead to increased mental health problems (e.g., mood and substance use disorders) and a result in increased risk of suicide. Black and Latino LGB individuals may be at elevated risk for suicide attempts, even in the absence of these traditional markers.

Behavioral health intervention can protect against further emotional distress and aid LGB individuals in navigating through the shame and stigma associated with non-heterosexual behavior, racial and ethnic differences in the coming-out process, experiences of negative life events (e.g., violence and homelessness), and other factors that may contribute to an increased risk for suicide attempts.

This article is courtesy of The Hózhó Institute, LLC.

For more information, please contact Hillcrest Center at (202) 232-6100 or email us at info@hillcrest-dc.org.


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