A Preliminary Framework for Understanding Suicide Risk in LGBTQ Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals continue to experience pervasive violence and victimisation, which has been associated with a host of negative mental health problems, including suicide. However, there is a gap in knowledge about LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers, an especially vulnerable subgroup of both the LGBTQ and refugee/asylum seeker population. The aim of this study was therefore to develop a preliminary theoretical framework to identify factors that may contribute to suicide risk among LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers, and those that may buffer this risk. We conducted a review of literature on the lived experiences of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers. We then used cumulative disadvantage and minority stress theories to conceptualise their risk for suicide and queer migration theory to highlight protective factors. Finally, this review provides practice implications for supporting the psychosocial and mental health needs of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.


Key implications for practice


  • The study presents a preliminary theoretical framework for understanding factors contributing to suicidality in LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers across the lifespan.


  • The study applies this framework to gatekeeper suicide prevention for humanitarian workers, NGO staff members, direct service providers and clinical practitioners.


  • The study integrates this framework into LGBTQaffirming clinical practice and mental health services.
Aaron Burgess, Miriam Potocky, Edward J Alessi | 2021
In: Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas | 19 | 2 | 187-196 | Diemen : ARQ International
Asylum Seekers, Immigrants, Mental health, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), PTSD (ICD-11), Refugees, Stressors, Suicidality, Transgendered Persons