PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Depression plummeted when transgender and nonbinary teens received gender-affirming care, a study from the University of Washington found.
The research conducted by University of Washington scientists shows that gender-affirming care was associated with a 60% reduction in depression and a 73% drop in harmful or suicidal thoughts among participants in the study.
The findings were recently published in JAMA Network Open.
For this study, gender-affirming care included receiving puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones. The project surveyed 104 people between the ages of 13 and 20.
By the end of the study, 69 people had received puberty blockers or gender-affirming hormones or both forms of intervention. The other 35 did not receive either intervention. Researchers saw 60% lower odds of depression and 73% lower odds of suicidality among the young people who had initiated puberty blockers or gender-affirming hormones compared with those who had not.
“Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care,” said Arin Collin, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and one of the study authors. “This care does have a great deal of power in walking back baseline adverse mental-health outcomes that the transgender population overwhelmingly [experiences] at a very young age.”
The study’s abstract says transgender and nonbinary youths are disproportionately burdened by poor mental health outcomes owing to decreased social support and increased stigma and discrimination.
“These data add to existing evidence suggesting that gender-affirming care may be associated with improved well-being among [transgender and nonbinary] youths over a short period, which is important given mental health disparities experienced by this population, particularly the high levels of self-harm and suicide,” the study concluded.
The University of Washington said this research comes as the nation’s largest pediatric hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, in Houston, Texas, announced March 6 that it has stopped gender-affirming therapies after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of gender-affirming care for children as abuse.
Another bill recently passed the Idaho State House that would make providing gender-affirming care a felony.
Research shows that transgender youth suffer from adverse mental health symptoms. The University of Washington study says between 750,000 and 1.1 million adolescents in the United States identify as transgender or nonbinary.