The False Dichotomy of Suicide Risk and Gender Identity: A Finnish Study Highlights the Critical Role of Addressing Underlying Mental Health Issues

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

A new study conducted by a Finnish research group has challenged the commonly held belief that suicide risk associated with sexual anxiety and transgender identity is overestimated. The study looked at suicide rates among young Finnish people who 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, led by doctoral researcher 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. This highlights the importance of addressing mental health issues in young people with sexual anxiety to prevent suicides, rather than solely focusing on gender reassignment treatments.

The researchers emphasized 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 supporting 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 while those with gender anxiety had a slightly higher suicide rate compared to the comparison group, this was primarily due to underlying mental health issues requiring specialized medical treatment. Therefore, mental health treatment and support are crucial in addressing suicide risk in young people with sexual anxiety.

In conclusion, this new study challenges previous beliefs about suicide risk associated with sexual anxiety and transgender identity by highlighting the importance of addressing underlying mental health issues instead of solely focusing on gender reassignment treatments.

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