While The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention notes there are no U.S. data regarding suicide ideation or suicide rates among the LGBT population as a whole or in part for LGBT youth, the 2011 study by Massachusetts-based Suicide Prevention Resource Center, suicide risk for gay and lesbian youth is far higher than for straight young people. The study also found that gay and lesbians between fifteen and twenty-four are up to three times more likely to report suicidal thoughts (ideation) and up to seven times more likely to report having attempted suicide than heterosexuals.
Bullying of LGBT youth has been shown to be a contributing factor in many suicides. Even one suicide of our nation’s youth is tragic as it is preventable. For National Suicide Prevention Month, The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline, has a campaign called Trevor Talk To Me.org. The campaign makes it o.k. to offer help and be willing to connect a person with life-saving resources. Twenty national organizational partners representing leaders in mental health, education, suicide prevention, youth and LGBT communities are sharing the messages of Talk To Me.
The Steps To Take To Help LGBT Depressed Youth
Step One: Take the Pledge
There is a form to download on the website and fill out. It is a pledge to:
• Let my friends know that I’m always available to talk.
• Be respectful and supportive of everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Listen with an open mind and without judgment.
• Take what people say seriously.
• Check in with friends who may need to talk.
• Help a friend call the Trevor Lifeline if they are in crisis (1-866-488-7386).
• Tell a person I trust if someone is considering suicide.
• Call the Trevor Hotline when I need support. (1-866.488.7386).
Step Two: Training for Schools or Groups with LGBT Youth
The free video training for educators, school counselors, school nurses or youth group leaders for grades 6-12.
• Identifies the challenges faced by LGBTQ people.
• Recognizes the Warning Signs of Suicide
• Responds to someone who may be in crisis in a way that keeps themselves and their peers safe.
• Students can download a letter to requesting suicide prevention training for their school.
Step Three: Take Action
You can contact your senator and representative to support The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (H.R. 2734) that needs to be reauthorized to ensure that vital services across the U.S. continue to be federally funded. There is a one page PDF file for viewing about the act and a sample letter that can be clicked on for consideration in writing your government lawmakers.
Step 4: Share Badges
Share Talk To Me badges, banners and updates on Twitter and Facebook to show support of suicide prevention.