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Mental health risk higher for Transgender youth

Transgender youth at higher risk for Mental Health issues.

A new study conducted at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena suggests that transgender and gender non-conforming children and adolescents may be more likely to develop depression and other mental health conditions, compared with individuals whose gender identity matches their assigned gender at birth.

Transgender people are those who have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex.

For this study the team gathered data from the electronic medical records of 1,347 children and teenagers between the ages of 3 and 17 who were transgender or gender non-conforming. Of these individuals, 44 percent were transfeminine (their assigned gender at birth was male), and 56 percent were transmasculine (their assigned gender at birth was female).

The study revealed that the risk of developing a mental health condition was three to 13 times higher for transgender and gender non-conforming youth than youth whose gender identity corresponded with their assigned gender at birth, also referred to as cisgender.

Around 15 percent of transfeminine and 16 percent of transmasculine youth were diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, while depression was diagnosed among 49 percent of transfeminine and 62 percent of transmasculine youth.

“We looked at mental health in transgender and gender-nonconforming youth retrospectively between 2006–2014 and found that these youths had 3 to 13 times the mental health conditions of their cisgender counterparts,” lead author, Tracy Becerra-Culqui, PhD, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, said in a statement. “Among these young people, the most prevalent diagnoses were attention deficit disorders in children, 3 to 9 years of age, and depressive disorders in adolescents, 10 to 17 years of age.”

Becerra-Culqui concluded:

“We hope this research creates awareness about the pressure young people questioning their gender identity may feel, and how this may affect their mental well-being… For clinicians, it is important that they are aware of possible mental health conditions that may be more common in transgender and gender-nonconforming youth compared to cisgender youth. It is also crucial they have the knowledge necessary to provide social and educational support for their young patients who are figuring out their gender identity.”

Here at Swain & Co Solicitors our specialist Mental Health Lawyers have represented many people detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended), including transgender individuals, and have assisted them to access the help they so desperately need in hospital as well as the community once discharged.

Swain & Co Solicitors work tirelessly to assist vulnerable people and ensure that their rights under the Mental Health Act are observed.  If you, a family member or friend are experiencing problems or are detained under the Mental Health Act contact our team today on 023 92 483322.

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