Good afternoon, readers.
June is LGBTQ Pride month, a memorial to the Stonewall riots of 1969 and celebration of Americans all across the sexual and gender identity spectrum. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the significant societal discrepancies still faced by these marginalized groups despite progress over the past decade.
A massive new survey by the Trevor Project, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing suicide and boosting mental health among LGBTQ youth, shines a light on just how far we have to go. The survey reached out to more than 30,000 young LGBTQ Americans via social media targeting in what the group tells Fortune is a first-of-its-kind study. And the results are sobering.
“What stuck out to me was that we found 39% of respondents said they’d seriously considered suicide in the past year,” said Amy Green, research director at the Trevor Project, in an interview with Fortune.
Green also point to a number of other concerning statistics in the study—including a number of metrics that had never been measured on such a wide scale to date. For instance, about 67% of respondents said that someone had tried to coerce them into changing their sexual orientation, whether voluntarily or through highly controversial (and in some states, illegal) conversion therapy. Among the relatively small group urged to go through conversion therapy, the rate of suicide attempts was double compared to those who hadn’t undergone it.
“There are many resources out there for struggling LGBTQ youth, including hotlines for people in crisis and the services provided by groups like the Trevor Project,” says Green. But ultimately, she adds, a larger number of visible allies and local actions—such as schools adopting anti-bullying policies, making clear that LGBTQ youth are protected, and parents who speak up in support of their children—could be the key to reversing these tragic mental health trends.
Read on for the day’s news.
Blackstone exec dumps cash into $100 million Mount Sinai A.I. initiative. Blackstone executive vice chairman Tony James and spouse Amabel are doling in some big (though undisclosed) bucks to New York’s Mount Sinai’s plans to create an artificial intelligence-focused center in New York, Bloomberg reports. The planned center will reportedly check off all the big digital health checklist items, including genomics, precision medicine, and more, part of a $100 million-ish total project. (Bloomberg)
Merck scores another pair of indications for its cancer immunotherapy star Keytruda. Merck’s flagship immunotherapy treatment Keytruda has added two more indications to a long-growing list, now winning Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals to treat a form of head and neck cancer as both monotherapy and combination therapy with chemotherapy. The approvals were based on clinical trials results showing Keytruda had a significant effect in extending patients’ lives.
U.S. panel pushes for greater PrEP coverage. An influential U.S. panel is recommending that PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) medicines be provided to those at high risk for HIV. PrEP pills such as Gilead’s Truvada have shown significant efficacy in preventing HIV transmission (up to 92% in some cases); but barriers to access have been a hurdle to widespread adoption. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation could, theoretically, help break up some of those barriers. (NPR)
THE BIG PICTURE
Planned Parenthood goes to court. Planned Parenthood and a group of associated family planning nonprofits sued the Trump administration on Tuesday over its recently proposed rules to allow medical practitioners to refuse certain medical services based on personal or religious beliefs. “Trust is the cornerstone of the physician-patient relationship,” Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “No one should have to worry if they will get the right care or information because of their providers’ personal beliefs.” (Reuters)
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