Finnish Study Challenges Perceptions of Suicide Risk in Gender-Dysphoric Youth, Highlights Importance of Addressing Mental Health
A comprehensive study from Finland, published in BMJ Mental Health, explores suicide rates among young people under 23 seeking gender services, finding no significant increase in suicide rates compared to peers when controlling for psychiatric conditions. The research challenges the notion that gender reassignment alone reduces suicide risk. This study, part of a broader body of Finnish research, raises important questions about the practice of medical gender transition for minors.
In this groundbreaking study researchers have taken a closer look at the suicide rates among young people seeking gender services, and their findings are prompting many to rethink some of their assumptions.
Over a span of 25 years, the study observed that suicides among these youths were remarkably rare, with no significant difference in suicide rates when compared to the general population, once factors like psychiatric needs were accounted for.
Finland, a pioneer in questioning the medical gender transition for minors, has been at the forefront of this research. Their work sheds light on the intricate dynamics at play, including the increase in gender dysphoria among youth and the influence of societal and media narratives on adolescent identity. The Finnish studies collectively caution against hasty medical interventions and point to the essential role of psychosocial support.
Challenging the Prevailing Narrative
Interestingly, the latest findings challenge the prevailing narrative that gender transition is a direct path to reducing suicide risks among gender-dysphoric youth. Instead, the data suggest that the focus should be on managing the mental health issues that often accompany gender dysphoria. This nuanced view aligns with earlier Finnish research, which highlighted the persistent psychiatric needs of this group, despite gender reassignment.
An article titled “21 International Experts Dispute Prevailing US Gender Transition Methods” published by The Epoch Times on July 15, 2023, discusses the concerns raised by 21 clinicians and researchers from nine countries regarding the current treatment methods for gender dysphoria in the United States. These experts argue that the best available evidence does not support the use of sex-change procedures, particularly for minors. They criticize the Endocrine Society’s endorsement of hormone treatments that block puberty in minors, stating that the evidence for mental health benefits from such interventions is of low or very low certainty.
The experts’ concerns were prompted by the Endocrine Society’s criticism of an op-ed that questioned a federal court ruling which struck down an Arkansas law banning sex-change procedures for minors. The court ruling relied on the Endocrine Society’s guidelines, which are based on low-quality evidence and influenced by transgender activists.
In response to these criticisms, the Endocrine Society’s president, Dr. Stephen Hammes, defended the guidelines, stating they were developed through a rigorous process and based on extensive evidence. He argued that more than 2000 studies since 1975 show that gender-affirming care improves the well-being of transgender and gender-diverse people and reduces the risk of suicide.
However, the group of international experts disputes this claim, stating that the best available evidence does not support the assertion that sex-change procedures improve well-being. They argue that the risks of such procedures, which include sterility, lifelong dependence on medication, and regret, are significant, while the benefits are very low.
They also contradict the claim that gender transition reduces suicides, stating that there is no reliable evidence to support this, and call for medical societies to align their recommendations with the best available evidence, cautioning against exaggerating benefits and minimizing risks.