David Lopez's picture

It's Pride Month! Let's Talk About Mental Health and Suicide

It seems that with each new day that the media blasts announcements of celebrities taking their own lives we put a spot light on mental health and suicide for a moment and when the next piece of news or popular culture comes out we’ve forgotten that there are still so many in the world who are struggling with their mental health and suicidal tendencies. The last decade we have seen a flood of incidents in the world with suicide, predominately with LGBTQ+ youth.

Just last month, we wrote about a 17-year-old who shared the most heartbreaking suicide note.

In 2010, the It Gets Better Project was started by Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller as a global movement to promote empowerment of LGBTQ+ youth in response to an increase in LGBTQ+ suicides that were surfacing via the internet and with the rise of social media.

And while the media may be inundated with stories of a new life cut short because of mental health and suicide, it is the media’s duty to continue to tell these narratives in hopes that we can save at least another life.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently released their Youth Risk Behavior Survey that includes extensive surveys that span over the decade (2007-2017), tracking trends in LGBTQ+ violence victimization, bullying, and mental health issues in ages 13-24. The CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) routinely monitors youth health behaviors, conducts research, and evaluates innovative prevention strategies.

According to the YRBS:

  • 1/10th of LGB students reported not attending school because of safety concerns
  • 1/3 of all LGB youth are bullied at school, and are more than 2 times more likely to be electronically bullied than their straight peers
  • LGB youth are more than 2 times more likely to experience persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness than their straight peers
  • LGB youth are almost 4 times more likely to seriously consider attempting suicide than their straight peers
  • LGB youth are almost 4 times more likely to have made a suicide plan than their straight peers
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers
  • LGB youth are more than four times more likely to be injured in a suicide attempt than their straight peers

The Trevor Project CEO and Executive Director, Amit Paley says:

This new data highlights that suicide is a continued public health crisis for young people in this country, especially among LGBTQ youth. That’s why it’s important for us to continue reaching out to LGBTQ youth to let them know that they are valued and never alone.

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people.

As we celebrate Pride month with friends and family we should keep in mind that the true essence of our existence as a community relies heavily on our internal and external allies. We must support one another and come together toward ending bullying, violence against the LGBTQ+ people, and the stigmas related to mental health.

The Trevor Project is here for you 24/7. Call TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or visit www.thetrevorproject.org 

h/t: The Trevor Project, It Gets Better Project, Youth Risk Behavior Survey