The past decade has brought many political and cultural wins for the LGBTQ community, but for Suicide Prevention Month in September, we recognize that many in the LGBTQ community are still struggling to live their authentic lives safely.
It is devastating to note in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) recent Youth Risk Behavior Study (YRBS) among 9th to 12th graders that the rate of suicide attempts is four times greater for LGB youth than that of straight youth.
Other studies show that the rate of suicide attempts is two times greater for questioning youth and that nearly half of transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt.
While these statistics reveal how much work still needs to be done, what many don’t realize is that anyone can help to save LGBTQ lives.
Just one supportive person can make a difference in the life of an LGBTQ person who is struggling. Start by learning the warning signs of suicide, and the risks factors that can increase a person’s risk of suicide.
Although emotional ups and downs are normal, sometimes a person who is suicidal gives certain signs or hints that something is wrong. Knowing these major warning signs can help you connect someone you care about to support if they need it.
To help save LGBTQ lives, follow our simple acronym, CARE:
Connect the person to resources and a trusted adult. You never have to be alone when helping someone in crisis.
Accept and listen to the person’s feelings and take them seriously. Be non-judgmental, validate their feelings, believe what they are saying, and show genuine concern. Know that it is ok to talk about suicide. It helps others feel comfortable sharing their own experiences.
Respond if a person has a plan to attempt suicide and tell someone you trust. Don’t ignore it. Telling someone that your friend needs help is putting their safety first.
Empower the person to call the Trevor Lifeline, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is completely confidential. If you are outside the US, use TrevorSpace.org to connect with a safe, supportive, international online community.
‘We can all show LGBTQ youth that they are welcome, they are loved, and they deserve support’
Depression is treatable and suicide is preventable. When you CARE, you can potentially save a life. Remember, you are not responsible for anyone who chooses to take their own life.
For National Suicide Prevention Month we can all take part in the fight to end suicide by sharing The Trevor Project’s campaign to #SaveLGBTQLives.
As the only national accredited suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization serving LGBTQ youth under age 25, The Trevor Project’s voice is critical during September.
In partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Take 5 To Save Lives, The Trevor Project will be educating supporters on 5 action steps to help someone who is thinking of suicide.
Join us on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 9th, for an educational Twitter chat using the hashtag #BeThe1To.
To demonstrate how accessible suicide prevention and crisis intervention can be, we’ve created shareable public service announcements with Nickelodeon star Kira Kosarin, whose mother is a volunteer with The Trevor Project.
Actor, activist, and writer Benjamin O’Keefe and Futurehood rapper Kaycee Davis also join us to empower intersectional voices to rise up and become a part of this important conversation that effects LGBTQ youth of color daily.
As LGBTQ youth are entering school in September, let’s show them that they matter and deserve to be heard, no matter what challenges they may face. To educate supporters and those in crisis, we’ve created Trevor’s Suicide Prevention Guide, as well as a Self-Care Guide, which gives tips on how to practice self-care at home, school, or in public.
To help schools and youth-serving professionals prevent suicide in September, we’re releasing Trevor’s Back to School Guide, which offers ways for classmates, counselors, and teachers to offer support and a more welcoming environment to LGBTQ youth in crisis.
Communicating and connecting about suicide can be the first step towards empowering LGBTQ youth to get the care they need. We can all show LGBTQ youth that they are welcome, they are loved, and they deserve support.
Abbe Land is the Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project. She is a recognized and respected health care professional with a history of ensuring care to under-represented populations, and advocating for youth and the LGBT community.