Over the last two decades, research has revealed a high level of suicide among sexual minority youth in the country. Elevated suicidality (the behavior associated with considering, attempting, and committing suicide) is a cause for concern among these individuals. The affected youth includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender [LGBT]. The main cause of the problem is the stigma and discrimination directed towards these individuals. Such stigma creates considerable stress and depression, causing suicide ideation, which is a serious mental health condition. Although research has focused on various aspects of the sexual minorities, the emphasis of this review is on the mental health problems, such as suicidality, which affects sexual minority youth.
Various studies have indicated a high prevalence of mental health problems among sexual minorities in the country. Plöderl and Tremblay (2015) conducted a review of literature that revealed a high risk of suicide among sexual minority youth. The study indicated that the youth in this group is twice at risk of contemplating suicide compared with heterosexual youths. Besides, the same group is 2 to 7 times more likely to attempt suicide. Bostwick, Boyd, Hughes, West, and McCabe (2014) conducted a study to establish some of the risk factors for a high level of suicidality among sexual youth in the United States. The study revealed a high level of mental health disparities that result in depressive and anxiety disorders among these individuals. The risk factor for the negative mental health outcome includes a high level of stress that results from prejudice and perceived discrimination. Hatzenbuehler et al. (2014) explored the need to understand and remediate the role of structural stigma and prejudice because of their association with negative mental health effects on sexual minorities. The research is relevant to sexual minorities because of the high prevalence of mental health challenges among members of this group.
As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, it is important to comprehend the various mental health challenges that affect various populations and patient groups. The research will play an important role in mental health avenue by creating effective interventions to overcome the psychological effects of stigma and prejudice among sexual minority youth. It is necessary, not only to understand the prevalence of the problem but also to recognize the risk factors that cause vulnerability among the affected population. Therefore, by learning the possible cause, it will be possible to control the effect of risk factors, and hence, the possibility of suffering from mental health outcome. Although the research is already effective in informing the risk factors and possible outcome (depression and suicide ideation), more research is necessary to understand possible interventions that a nurse practitioner could implement in practice. The nurse can easily implement evidence-based interventions to help the affected patient population to overcome mental health challenges.
Mental health problems are common among various at-risk populations. Sexual minority youth are among the most vulnerable groups to mental health problems such as depression and suicidal thoughts due to the stigma and prejudice they experience in society. The stress might drive them into depression and anxiety attacks that can cause contemplation or completion of suicide. Since the youth are the most affected by the mental health problem, mental health nurse practitioners are responsible for helping them to overcome the issue. They should understand and address the risk factors through counselling and other interventions to prevent the development of mental health problems.