Most young Irish adults experiencing gender confusion suffer from a mental health condition, a new study has found.
The research, published in the Irish Journal of Medical Science, found that nearly half of 18 to 30-year-olds who attended the National Gender Service (NGS) during the past six years suffered from depression.
The medical charts of 167 NGS patients revealed that 49 per cent had depression, 26 per cent experienced anxiety, and 15 per cent reported a low mood.
At their initial assessment, 97 per cent of the young people – mainly women – asked for cross-sex drugs and 86 per cent said they wanted ‘sex-swap’ surgery.
The annual number of referrals to the gender service has risen six-fold between 2005 and 2020, from just six to 282.
The study found that eleven per cent of the patients had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), compared to an estimated 1.2 per cent for the general population.
A spokesperson for the Ireland East Hospital group, which runs the NGS, said while three per cent of all its patients in 2014 were diagnosed with ASD, that had risen to 34 per cent by 2019 and “the expectation for 2022 is that figure will increase significantly and may reach as high as 90pc”.
Mental health ignored
In England, Ritchie Herron is planning to sue the NHS, saying the clinic he visited failed to take his spiralling mental health crisis into account and pressured him into the “biggest mistake” of his life by undergoing surgery that has left him infertile.
In 2014, Sinéad Watson was referred to the Sandyford Gender Service in Glasgow where she was not asked about the possible causes of her depression.
She later had drastic surgery in an attempt to live as a man, but it failed to resolve her depression.
Watson now works as an advisor to parent group Genspect, which helps parents whose children struggle with gender confusion.