Though our society has and is making great strides in affording equal rights to the LGBTQ community, there is much work to be done in gaining total acceptance for gay and transgender people. This reality is particularly harsh for young people.
Adolescents already struggle to find themselves as they navigate through middle and high school. The addition of an LGBTQ youth choosing to live their lives freely and unapologetically often comes at an unfortunate price at the hands of other children in the form of taunting and bullying.
As a result, LGBTQ youth have become increasingly suicidal. According to the Trevor Project, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds, and LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.
In an effort to help LGBTQ youth, we have gathered potential warning signs and five ways you can help prevent LGBTQ youth suicide. Read on:
All information is sourced from TheTrevorProject.org
If you or someone you know ever felt:
If you or someone you know:
- Does not care about their future: “It won’t matter soon anyway.”
- Puts themselves down – and think they deserve it: “I don’t deserve to live. I suck.”
- Expresses hopelessness: “Things will never get better for me.”
- Says goodbye to important people: “You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. I’ll miss you.”
- Has a specific plan for suicide: “I’ve thought about how I’d do it.”
- Talk about feeling suicidal: “Life is so hard. Lately, I’ve felt like ending it all.”
If you or someone you know has been:
- Using drugs or alcohol more than usual
- Acting differently than usual
- Giving away their most valuable possessions
- Losing interest in their favorite things to do
- Admiring people who have died by suicide
- Planning for death by writing a will or letter
- Eating or sleeping more or less than usual
- Feeling more sick, tired or achy than usual
How you can help:
Help prevent LGBT youth suicide by following the Trevor Project’s Y-CARE system
- You are not responsible for anyone who chooses to take their life. As friends, family, and loved ones, all you can do is listen, support, and assist the person in getting the help they need.
- Connect the person to resources and to a supportive, trusted adult. Resources include the Trevor Hotline ( 866-488-7386), Trevorspace.org, friends, community groups, and guidance counselors.
- Accept and listen to the person’s feelings and take them seriously. Be non-judgemental, validate their feelings, believe what they are saying, and show genuine concern.
- Respond if a person has a plan to attempt and tell someone you trust. Don’t ignore it, tell someone, and take it seriously.
- Empower the person to call the Trevor Lifeline. The lifeline is open 24/7 and is completely confidential.