Even though it sometimes feels as if the world is immersed in a never-ending dumpster fire of politics, disasters, and attacks, there is some good in the world. A new study has recently discovered that teen suicide attempts fell after the legalization of same-sex marriage, and if that's not good news, then nothing is. According to the study, an "analysis of representative data from 47 states found that same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7% reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year."
The findings, published in JAMA Pediatrics, don't entirely prove the hypothesis, which sought to discover if there was a connection between teen suicide and the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. However, the strongest rate of correlation between the two, was in teens who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or unsure of their sexual orientation; that population's rate of suicide attempts went down by the largest rate. The study states that same-sex marriage policies "were associated with a statistically significant decline in the proportion of adolescents who were sexual minorities who reported attempting suicide in the past year."
The importance of these findings cannot be ignored, as they provide a great resource for proponents of marriage equality regarding why such important legislation should be kept in place.
The study looked at Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) data from more than 750,000 participants during a 16-year period, and focused on students from various states. The study observed teen suicide rates in states before same-sex marriage legislation was passed, and compared them with rates after such laws came into place.
The decline in teenage suicide attempts after same-sex marriage legislation was put into place was 7 percent among teenagers who identified as straight. However, among those teens who identified as sexual minorities, there was a 14 percent decrease in suicide attempts after marriage equality laws were passed.
The study works to "build on prior research indicating that state same-sex marriage bans were associated with increased rates of psychiatric disorders," and, as teenagers are already at an increased risk of depression, these results shed light on a critical issue.
While other issues seem to plague the current political landscape, this new study illuminates the impact inequality has on health and happiness amongst Americans. "We estimated that, each year, same-sex marriage policies would be associated with more than 134 000 fewer adolescents attempting suicide," the study concludes, proving that, yes, love wins.