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

Beyond Gender Anxiety: The Complexity of Suicide Risk Among Finnish Youth in Gender Identity Clinics

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.

Sami-Matti Ruuska, a doctoral researcher and doctor specializing in youth psychiatry from the University of Tampere, conducted the study which found that almost three out of four young people who applied to gender identity clinics had received psychiatric treatment in a specialized hospital. The importance of addressing mental health disorders in young people suffering from sexual anxiety was highlighted by the study, as it is crucial 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.

In conclusion, while there may be some link between sexual anxiety and transidentity and an increased risk of suicide among young Finnish people seeking help at gender identity clinics; it is essential not to overestimate this risk as it can lead to unnecessary fear or stigma towards those seeking care for their mental health issues. It is critical for healthcare professionals working with this population to understand the complexities surrounding their experiences and provide appropriate care without bias or prejudice.

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