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Differences in Methods of Suicide Death Among Transgender and Nontransgender Patients in the Veterans Health Administration, 1999-2016.
Blosnich JR, Boyer TL, Brown GR, Kauth MR, Shipherd JC. Differences in Methods of Suicide Death Among Transgender and Nontransgender Patients in the Veterans Health Administration, 1999-2016. Medical care. 2021 Feb 1; 59:S31-S35.
Limited research suggests that rates of suicide death among transgender people may be higher than their nontransgender peers.
The objective of this study was to compare rates of suicide deaths by different means between transgender and nontransgender patients.
This secondary analysis used VHA administrative and electronic health record (EHR) data from October 1, 1999 through December 31, 2016.
Transgender patients (n = 8981) were categorized as such based on a set of International Classification of Disease codes, and a comparison sample was selected by randomly choosing 3 nontransgender patients (n = 26,924).
MEASURES AND ANALYSES:
Cause and date of death data are from the National Death Index. Because of low frequencies amid different methods of suicide death, we combined categories into self-poisoning; hanging, strangulation and suffocation; discharge of firearms; and self-harm by all other and unspecified means. We conducted Cox regression analyses to model time-to-event for each method of suicide, adjusted for age, sex based on EHR, race, ethnicity, marital status, and whether patients had ever been diagnosed with depression.
Among transgender patients, 73 died by suicide (22 female EHR-based sex, 51 male EHR-based sex), and among nontransgender patients, 71 died by suicide (4 female EHR-based sex, 67 male EHR-based sex). In adjusted models, transgender patients had significantly greater hazards of death by self-poisoning and firearms than their nontransgender peers.
Differences in methods of suicide death suggest that firearms and self-poisoning may be specific areas of concern for transgender individuals experiencing suicidal crisis, which underscore needs for examining effective delivery of evidence-based care.