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Trans College Students at 4x Greater Risk for Depression, Anxiety

Trans students more depressed, anxious than cis peers at college.

In news that shouldn’t surprise anyone but also is still sad, Reuters reports that trans and gender-nonconforming college students are significantly more likely to experience mental health problems than their cis peers.

Trans, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, and genderqueer students carry a greater than four-fold risk for mental health symptoms when compared to cis students, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study — which analyzed data from 65,000 people who participated in the annual Healthy Minds Study between 2015 and 2017 — found that trans, nonbinary, genderqueer, and gender-nonconforming students were disproportionately more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-injury, suicidal ideation, suicide plans, and suicide attempts. Seventy-eight percent of these students experienced one or more of these disorders, which was true for less than half of the cis students surveyed. Trans students were also disproportionately likely to have attempted suicide — similarly, a Trevor Project study released this year showed that more than half transgender youth surveyed had “seriously considered” suicide.

“The traditional college years coincide with the onset of about 75% of mental illnesses, and students are experiencing newfound autonomy living on their own with new social environments, new health behaviors and different forms of stress,” Sarah Ketchen Lipson of the Boston University School of Public Health told Reuters.

“This is a key time for students to address their mental health, and we often see students experience symptoms for the first time,” Lipson, who led the study, continued. “That’s particularly relevant for the students who identify as nonbinary, transgender or genderqueer.”

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