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Fewer Teen Suicides After Legalizing Same Sex Marriage

Update Date: Feb 21, 2017 08:50 AM EST

A new study has associated the legalization of same-sex marriage in American states to have lowered down the rates of reported suicides among lesbian, gay and bisexual teens. The study found declines in states that passed laws allowing same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide in June 2015.

Julia Raifman, study lead author at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore said their "findings suggest that same-sex marriage policies reduced adolescent suicide attempts." The study was published on Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

According to ABC 8 News, suicide has been the second-leading cause of death for all US teens. It has been reported to be most common among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids and adults.

Previous studies have suggested that sexual minority teens are more bullied and suicidal. Another study published last year found that 40 percent of LGBT teens have considered suicide where 29 percent had attempted suicide in the past year.

The new study examined the results of survey of nearly 763,000 US students from 47 states. The surveys were conducted from 1999 to 2015, average age was 16.

According to Philly, in 2015, 13 percent of the students were found to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or "not sure." More than 6 percent said they were bisexual, four percent were "not sure" about their sexual orientation. More than 2 percent said they were gay or lesbian.

Nearly 9 percent of all students and 29 percent of the LGBT students said they'd tried to commit suicide. Teen suicide attempt rate plunged by 0.6 percent, a risk reduction of 7 percent after same-sex marriage was allowed. LGBT suicide attempt rate dropped 4 percent after same-sex marriage was introduced, showing a risk reduction of 14 percent.

"It's important for policymakers to be aware that social policies that affect lesbian, gay and bisexual rights may impact child health," Raifman said.

It's not clear how teens will be affected by the legalization. But researchers said policymakers should be aware of its potential benefits for youth mental health, especially to LGBT teens.

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