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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #ConversionTherapy Linked to Psychological Distress and #Suicide Among #Transgender Adults

Laurel Ranger

Although state-level bans on GICE have focused on licensed #mentalhealthprofessionals, nonlicensed religious counselors continue to practice GICE.

Exposure to gender identity conversion efforts (GICE) among #transgender individuals is associated with poor mental health in adulthood, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

#Transgender adults have a high risk for adverse #mentalhealth outcomes, with a 41% lifetime prevalence of #suicide attempts among this population. Although state-level bans on GICE have focused on licensed #mentalhealthprofessionals, nonlicensed religious counselors continue to practice GICE.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Jack L. Turban, MD, MHS, from the division of child and adolescent psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues conducted a survey-based, cross-sectional study involving 27,715 transgender individuals (mean age, 31.2 years; 42.8% assigned male sex at birth). The study investigated #mentalhealth outcomes based on lifetime and childhood exposure to GICE, as well as potential differences between religious vs secular practitioners. #Mentalhealth outcome was evaluated with the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, as well as a range of other factors, including #suicidalideation, #suicide attempts in the previous year, and substance use.

Lifetime exposure to GICE was common among transgender adults: 14% of all survey respondents reported exposure, and of the 19,741 (71.3%) respondents who had spoken with a professional about their #genderidentity, 3869 (19.6%) had been exposed to GICE.

Compared with exposure to non-GICE therapy, recalled lifetime exposure to GICE was associated with severe psychological distress in the previous month. Recalled exposure to GICE at any point and before the age of 10 years was associated with higher risk of lifetime #suicide attempts. However, there was no significant difference between exposure to GICE by secular professionals and by religious counselors.

The investigators theorized that increased #stigma-related stress from GICE may elevate emotion dysregulation, interpersonal dysfunction, and maladaptive cognition in accordance with the minority stress framework. Socioeconomically disadvantaged respondents were more likely to report GICE exposure, a finding that requires further research.

The study is limited by its cross-sectional design. It is also possible that #transgender individuals with internalized transphobia or worse #mentalhealth are more likely to seek GICE independently.

The study authors concluded, “Our results support the policy positions of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the #AmericanMedicalAssociation, which state that gender identity #conversiontherapy should not be conducted for #transgender patients at any age.”

Photo by Michael Alves on Pexels.com

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