Teen Suicide Attempts Fell as Same-Sex Marriage Became Legal: Study - NBC4 Washington
Changing Minds

Changing Minds

Teen Suicide Attempts Fell as Same-Sex Marriage Became Legal: Study

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    Teen Suicide Attempts Fell as Same-Sex Marriage Became Legal: Study
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    Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate waving flags outside the Supreme Court. (FILE PHOTO)

    Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal, and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found.

    The research found declines in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide. The results don't prove there's a connection, but researchers said policymakers should be aware of the measures' potential benefits for youth mental health.

    Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for all U.S. teens. Suicidal behavior is much more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids and adults; about 29 percent of these teens in the study reported attempting suicide, compared with just 6 percent of straight teens.

    Laws that have the greatest impact on gay adults may make gay kids feel "more hopeful for the future," said lead author Julia Raifman, a researcher at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health.

    The measures also could create more tolerance and less bullying, making these teens feel less stigmatized. Those effects could also benefit straight teens but more research is needed to determine how the laws might influence teen behavior, Raifman said.