National Suicide Prevention Week is ending today. How do we carry the awareness momentum forward? Of all the causes and issues that matter, why continue giving attention to this one? Why care?
You may not ever experience a day in your life where you would contemplate suicide… but what if you do? What if someone you love feels so helpless and is in such pain that they believe death is the only option? What if you lose someone to suicide? How would you feel? How would you act? Who would you turn to?
Perhaps your life has already been touched by suicide…perhaps you know the pain of depression, bipolar disorder, ptsd or another mental health issue that led you to a suicide attempt. Perhaps you don’t know what to do right now because you are in such emotional pain. Or maybe, your life has been dramatically altered, forever changed by the loss of a loved one who died by suicide. No matter the reason for caring, the only reason for participating is so that you are no longer idle. We can not sit by and watch as others suffer. We cannot lay down and accept defeat. We cannot be passive.
One thing I decided that I want to do, today, the day after World Suicide Prevention Day, is to feature and support a suicide prevention effort that is especially near to my heart. And September 11 feels like a meaningful time to do so, to focus on creating hope in the midst of sorrow.
The Trevor Project is “the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.” Sexual orientation and gender identity alone are not risk factors for suicide. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth do often face many social factors that put them at higher risk for self-destructive behaviors, including suicide. I have written quite a bit about these factors: LGBTQ youth may be bullied, victims of violence, and abandoned by their families, for example. These are the traumatic experiences that contribute to a horrible statistic: lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents attempt suicide at a rate three to six times that of comparably aged heterosexual youth. You can read more about the link between homophobia/transphobia and suicide here.
Want to know more about the Trevor Project? Read on!
The Trevor Project was founded by writer James Lecesne, director/producer Peggy Rajski and producer Randy Stone, creators of the 1994 Academy Award®-winning short film, Trevor, a comedy/drama about a gay 13-year-old boy who, when rejected by friends because of his sexuality, makes an attempt to take his life.
When Trevor was scheduled to air on HBO® in 1998, the filmmakers realized that some of the program’s young viewers might be facing the same kind of crisis as Trevor, and began to search for an appropriate support line to broadcast during the airing. They discovered that no such helpline existed, and decided to dedicate themselves to forming what was, in their view, a much-needed resource: an organization to promote acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, and to aid in crisis and suicide prevention among that group. Thus, The Trevor Project was born, and with seed funding provided by The Colin Higgins Foundation, The Trevor Lifeline was established and became the first and only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
Today, in addition to operating the crisis and suicide prevention lifeline, The Trevor Project provides online support to young people through the organization’s Web site, as well as lifesaving guidance and vital resources for educators and parents.
HERE ARE SOME WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
- Send a Trevor Survival Kit to your local school, church or community center
- Get certified and lead Lifeguard Workshops in your community
- Volunteer with your local Trevor Project Ambassadors Council
- Call your Senators and ask for their support of the Safe Schools Improvement Act
- Text TREVOR to 85944 to make a $5 donation to The Trevor Project!
- Purchase a DVD copy of the Trevor film (Academy Award®-winning short), please order it by clicking here. All sales go directly to support The Trevor Project
- Learn how you can support someone suicidal: YCARE
The Trevor Lifeline is available for young people to call 24/7 at 866-4-U-TREVOR to speak confidentially with a trained counselor. As always, if a suicide attempt is imminent, seek emergency help from a local hospital, mental health clinic or by calling “911.”