Depression and Suicide Literacy among Canadian Sexual and Gender Minorities

Arch Suicide Res. 2021 Oct-Dec;25(4):876-891. doi: 10.1080/13811118.2020.1769783. Epub 2020 Jun 12.


The purpose of this study was to examine and compare depression and suicide literacy among Canadian sexual and gender minorities (SGM). Online surveys comprised of the 22-item depression literacy scale (D-LIT) and the 12-item literacy of suicide scale (LOSS) were completed by 2,778 individuals identifying as SGM. Relationships between depression and suicide literacy and demographic characteristics were evaluated using multivariable linear regression. Overall, SGM correctly answered 71.3% of the questions from the D-LIT and 76.5% of the LOSS. D-LIT scores were significantly lower among cisgender men and D-LIT and LOSS scores were lower among transgender women when compared to cisgender women. LOSS and D-LIT scores were significantly lower among SGM without a university degree (compared to those with a university degree) and among SGM from ethnic minority groups (compared to White SGM). D-LIT scores, but not LOSS scores, were significantly lower among Indigenous SGM compared to White SGM. The findings provide evidence of differences in suicide and depression literacy between SGM subgroups along multiple social axes. Interventions to increase depression and suicide literacy should be prioritized as part of a mental health promotion strategy for SGM, targeting subgroups with lower literacy levels, including cisgender men, transgender women, Indigenous people, racialized minorities, and those without a university degree.

Keywords: Depression; gender identity; literacy; sexual and gender minorities; sexual orientation; suicide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Literacy
  • Male
  • Minority Groups
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Suicide Prevention*