Transgender Youth Suicide Rate Demonstrates A Need For Increased Support

Suicide and self-harm are not easy topics to talk about. Their personal and can be difficult to understand if you have never dealt with it yourself. It can be even more difficult to deal with when you are a young.

One group in particular that has a crisis-level issue with suicide and self-harm is the young transgender community.

A 2017 report found that almost 65 per cent of transgender youth in Alberta between the ages of 19 and 25 have considered suicide at some point in their lives.

A nation-wide survey of transgender youth found about two-thirds of the youth reported engaging in non-suicidal self-injury in the past year.

These statistics show Canada is failing these young people.

Experts suggest that people who want to end their life ‘feel so much pain that they see no other option’ and in desperation ‘see death as a way to escape their overwhelming pain.’

Self-harm doesn’t necessarily mean a person wants to end their life, but it can lead to suicide. People who do this usually do it to communicate emotional pain, fell a sense of control or punish themselves.

This is what happened to Jordyn Dyck, a transgender 14 teen living in Saskatchewan who was brutally bullied at school.

“I was treated differently because I was born a female and wanted to be a different person than I was,” Jordyn explained in an interview with CBC News Saskatchewan. “It made me feel like I shouldn’t be the way I am.”

Jordyn wanted to die and went on to self-harm and attempt suicide.

“I felt like I couldn’t support myself when all of these other people didn’t support me,” stated Jordyn.

Now Jordyn has switched schools and is going through a lot of counseling. Things are looking up.

Studies have shown with the right support, suicide and self-harm for transgender youth can be prevented.

A study in the journal of BMC Public Health, found a connection between the risk of suicide amongst transgender people and factors such as parental support, transphobia and ease of access to a medical transition.

Alberta has made some steps in the right direction.

As of February, the Gender Health Program at the University of Alberta has opened, the first clinic in the Prairie Provinces.

Transgender youth have a place to go to start their journey.

Previously a clinic based out of the Alberta Children’s Hospital was the only specialized clinic called the Metta Clinic. It was only open one half day a month, with a waitlist of up to three years.

As more research is showing that transgender youth and their family in Canada need more support, it is time for organizations and the government to pay attention and take action.

 

 


Celebrating The Opening Of A New Clinic For Transgender Albertans

This month Alberta has taken a huge step in its support of transgender health. As of February, the Gender Health Program at the University of Alberta has opened, the first clinic in the Prairie Provinces.

Transgender youth have a place to go to start their journey.

The goal of the clinic is to ‘to transform health care for transgender Albertans  and aims to reduce wait times and improve access to medical treatments.’

All of these have been huge issues in Alberta, especially for youth.

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Previously a clinic based out of the Alberta Children’s Hospital was the only specialized clinic called the Metta Clinic. It was only open one half day a month, with a waitlist of up to three years.

Dr. Ted Jablonski from Calgary said in an interview with CBC news that young people were suffering because of this and the consequences of waiting could be horrific including substance abuse, mental health challenges and even suicide attempts.

study of Alberta’s transgender youth last year found some troubling statistics:

·      75 percent of youth under 18 felt discriminated against

·      73 per cent said they had self-harmed

·      67 per cent said they had seriously considered suicide

·      41 per cent had made at least one attempt

·      80 per cent said their family didn’t understand them

·      62 per cent don’t access mental health services (92 per cent of those did not want their family to find out)

·      75 per cent felt very uncomfortable discussing trans-specific health care need with doctors

These statistics are shocking and need to make Albertan’s stop and think about how our province treats this population.

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Transgender individuals need to be treated fairly in the workplace as well. Teamsters 362 is committed to making sure all members, including those in the LGBTQ2S community, are treated with respect in the workplace.

Employers must also take steps in the workplace by developing company-wide policies that promote inclusion, educate employees about how to support LGBTQ2S employees that they work with and implement anti-discrimination and harassment policies.

Together we can change these statistics and this new clinic is a huge step.