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June 5, 1991

Adolescents Who Attempt Suicide

Author Affiliations

Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, Conn

Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, Conn

JAMA. 1991;265(21):2806. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460210051011

To the Editor. —  I was both astonished and saddened to find that in her recent editorial, "Youth Suicide: The Physician's Role in Suicide Prevention," Blumenthal1 did not discuss the impact of the repression of emerging awareness of homosexuality on the incidence of suicide among young people. The Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth, an educational and advocacy group for youth in New York City with 1000 or more clients per year, reports that 21% of their clients (both male and female) have attempted suicide before the age of 20 years. The incidence of suicide attempts among gay males is reported to be between 18% and 20%.2 Clearly, these estimates represent more than an occasional youth.Blumenthal states that "precipitating events for suicide among youth are often humiliating in nature, involving interpersonal problems or an impending disciplinary crisis." Being thrown out of the home, school,