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Gender-Affirming Care Access Improves Mental Health: Study

Gender-Affirming Care Access Improves Mental Health: Study

LGBTQ People

The faster a transgender patient receives access to care, the quicker their levels of suicidal ideation and gender dysphoria decreases, according to researchers.

The first randomized controlled study of its kind from Australia indicates that people with gender dysphoria who are able to access gender-affirming care and treatment are significantly more mentally well-adjusted and less suicidal when their access to care is not delayed.

The research was published in the American Medical Association's open-access journal.

As part of the recently published study, 64 transgender and gender-diverse participants were randomly assigned either to receive testosterone treatment immediately or to be placed in a group that had to wait three months before receiving testosterone treatment. Those in the study were looking for masculinization.

Before the beginning of the study, both groups were evaluated for depression, gender dysphoria, and suicidality, employing a comprehensive assessment. The two groups underwent a reassessment after three months in the study.

There was no placebo drug or no treatment at all given to the control group; instead, they had to wait for more extended periods before they received treatment than those in the treatment group.

As opposed to a treatment group that began hormone therapy within a week of enrolling in the program, this group waited three months before starting hormone therapy.

Researchers found that hormone therapy significantly reduced suicidal thoughts, depression, and gender dysphoria among those treated with testosterone.

Testosterone therapy initiated immediately reduced gender dysphoria significantly more than testosterone therapy initiated later. Additionally, testosterone therapy resulted in clinically significant reductions in depression and suicidal thoughts.

There was a 55 percent reduction in transgender individuals’ suicidality among transgender individuals after receiving immediate access to gender-affirming care, while the control group saw a 5 percent reduction.

Compared to the control group, depression scores in the treatment group decreased by half, while rates of gender dysphoria also significantly reduced during the treatment.

According to the study’s researchers, “The findings of this trial suggest that testosterone therapy significantly decreases gender dysphoria, depression, and suicidality in transgender and gender-diverse individuals desiring testosterone therapy.”

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at or text START to 678678.

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