Since same-sex-marriage became legal in 2015, teen suicide attempts have declined in 32 states and the largest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual youth, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed 700,000 students and found that attempts dropped by 7 percent among all students and by 14 percent for students who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Although there is no direct connection between the results and the new policy, researchers believe that policymakers should consider the mental health benefits of the law. Julia Raifman, a researcher at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Associated Press that gay kids feel "more hopeful for the future" when they see positive change happening for gay adults.
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.
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.