High school is a weird time for everyone. Between stressing about back to school style, juggling classwork聽and navigating the聽tricky world of making friends, it鈥檚 safe to say it isn鈥檛聽exactly a simple time. But one of the best ways to make high school a lot more fun and a lot less isolating is to get involved in extracurriculars. So if you鈥檝e been thinking聽of starting a club at your school, we鈥檝e got the perfect suggestion for you: a gay-straight alliance.

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Not only could it be a great way to meet new friends and do cool things together, but a GSA could actually save lives. You read that right. A聽new study out of the University of British Columbia found聽that at schools with GSA clubs, suicides among gay聽and聽straight students are lower聽overall.

鈥淲e know that LGBTQ students are at higher risk for suicide, in part because they are more often targeted for bullying and discrimination,鈥 said Elizabeth Saewyc, lead author of the study and professor with the UBC School of Nursing, in a release. 鈥淏ut heterosexual students can also be the target of homophobic bullying. When policies and supportive programs like GSAs are in place long enough to change the environment of the school, it鈥檚 better for students鈥 mental health, no matter what their orientation.鈥

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The researchers looked at data from more than 20,000 high schools and found that in schools where a GSA had been active for more than three years, 鈥渢he odds of homophobic discrimination聽and suicidal thoughts were reduced by more than half among lesbian, gay, bisexual boys and girls compared to schools with no GSA.鈥 And the rate of suicide attempts among heterosexual boys was halved as well.聽Woah!

We know in general that more inclusion, empathy and understanding are making the world a safer place for everyone, but it鈥檚 even more powerful to see statistical proof.

Did your high school have a GSA? Tweet us about it @BritandCo!聽

(Photos via Getty)