Sexual Orientation-Based Depression and Suicidality Health Disparities: The Protective Role of School-Based Health Centers

J Res Adolesc. 2020 Jan;30 Suppl 1:134-142. doi: 10.1111/jora.12454. Epub 2018 Sep 19.


This study's purpose was to examine whether school-based health centers (SBHCs) support mental health indicators among sexual minority youth (SMY). Data came from the 2015 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey with 13,608 11th graders in 137 public high schools in Oregon. Regression results revealed significant SBHC by SMY status interactions indicating relative reductions in likelihood of depressive episodes (30%), suicidal ideation (34%), and suicide attempts (43%) among SMY in schools with SBHCs. SMY students in SBHC schools reported lower likelihood of a past-year depressive episode, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempt versus those attending non-SBHC schools. Conversely, no differences in these outcomes were observed for non-SMY by SBHC status. SBHCs may help reduce mental health disparities among SMY, a marginalized, underserved population.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • School Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / psychology*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*