GET HELP NOW BY ACCESSING THE TREVOR PROJECT’S LGBTQ+ CRISIS RESOURCES: CALL 1-866-488-7386 OR TEXT ‘START’ TO 678-678. IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS STRUGGLING WITH THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE, DIAL OR TEXT 988 TO GET 24/7 SUPPORT.
Today, I want to discuss a complex and sadly taboo topic: LGBTQ+ youth suicide. This issue is often hidden and not spoken about, but it’s time to bring it out into the open. Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for LGBTQ+ youth? Suicide rates are four times higher for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth than heterosexual youth, and transgender youth are nearly eight times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers.
Every year, countless young people take their own lives because they feel hopeless, alone, and rejected by society. We need to do better for these kids. We need to show them that there is hope, they are loved, and they have a place in this world. This blog will share how we are spreading hope through work being done at Odyssey Youth Movement and through the Believe in Me Drag Beauty Pageant, a fun event raising awareness and funds for this cause. Together, we’re fighting the problem of LGBTQ+ youth suicide in our community.
Why I’m Fighting for LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Prevention
Suicide within the LGBTQ+ community is an alarming reality that has directly impacted my family. My son came out as gay when he was 15, and his struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation ensued shortly thereafter. Rejection from his peers, some family members and friends, and the wider community made it increasingly difficult for him to feel like he belonged. He has since found the support he needs, enabling him to thrive despite the obstacles still ahead. Our experience has helped us better to understand the real challenges of suicide in this population, and we are using our story to advocate for awareness and resources in hopes of helping other youth facing similar issues.
Too Many LGBTQ+ Youth Die by Suicide Each Year in the U.S.
Unfortunately, suicide is the second leading cause of death among LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-24 in the United States. According to the Trevor Project, studies have shown that suicide and suicide-related behaviors are almost four times more likely to occur among these individuals than their heterosexual peers. In fact, 45% of LGBTQ youth considered attempting suicide in the past year, and 14% of LGBTQ youth attempted suicide in the past year. Combating this phenomenon requires us to address depression, anxiety, and stigma to protect members of our community who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or ideation.
The Hidden Problem of LGBTQ+ Youth Suicide Should Not Be Ignored
LGBTQ+ youth are facing an alarming rate of suicide and suicidal ideation due to not feeling supported. Many factors, including inadequate representation in schools, lack of diverse role models, lack of access to resources and support groups, rejection from family members, bullying or harassment from peers, internalized homophobia and dysphoria, and isolation associated with social distancing can all contribute to this high suicide rate among young LGBTQ+ individuals. We must create safe spaces for these youth to learn acceptance and validation, provide relevant educational opportunities, and ensure access to appropriate mental health services.
Odyssey Youth Movement Is a Safe Space for LGBTQ+ Youth to Get Support
Odyssey Youth Movement, located in Spokane, WA, provides LGBTQ+ youth with a safe and supportive environment where they can be their true selves, access resources, and make meaningful relationships. At the heart of their program is their drop-in center, a place for LGBTQ+ youth to find community and connect with trained adults in providing mentorship. Their staff members seek to empower LGBTQ+ youth by encouraging independence, positive self-identity, and acceptance. They strive to offer LGBTQ+ children the chance to explore opportunities for growth and development that will enable them personally and socially thrive. Together, Odyssey Youth Movement offers LGBTQ+ youth a reliable system of support that focuses on helping them live authentically and confidently.
ASIST: A Valuable Resource for Suicide Prevention Among LGBTQ+ Youth
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is an invaluable resource for suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth. It provides suicide first-aid strategies, helping individuals recognize signs of suicide risk and intervene safely. Its carefully crafted program provides the necessary support that LGBTQ+ youth need during critical times of distress. ASIST strengthens suicide prevention amongst the young queer community by equipping communities with resources and connecting them to helpful suicide support networks. It upskills individuals with suicide intervention capability, enabling them to spot suicidal warning signs in time, provide protection, and potentially save somebody’s life. Ultimately ASIST serves as a vital gateway to suicide crisis help for LGBTQ+ youth needing intervention services before a suicide attempt.
Odyssey Youth Movement Receives a $7,500 Grant from Believe in Me
Believe in Me is dedicated to inspiring self-discovery and meaningful change and is thrilled to announce a generous grant of $7,500 for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) for the Odyssey Youth Movement’s staff and the local community. With this grant, Odyssey will be able to equip its staff with critical suicide intervention and prevention skills that can help save lives. Their program will also help foster safe communities where members will have the resources to understand mental health conditions better, provide support, and intervene appropriately when necessary. By increasing accessibility to Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, Believe in Me hopes more individuals can get the help they need.
You Can Help Too by Attending the Believe in Me Drag Beauty Pageant
Attend the Believe in Me Drag Beauty Pageant to show your support for LGBTQ+ and suicide prevention. Hosted at Northern Quest Casino’s Highball Lounge on Mar. 4, this 21+ event will feature three rounds of competition: talent, public speaking, and evening gown. Each contestant will share their story of how supporting community members has helped them believe in themselves and overcome the challenges they have faced—a powerful and meaningful demonstration of our collective capacity for empathy and support. Get your tickets today to ally with the LGBTQ+ community, raise awareness, and contribute funds to the cause. Show love and solidarity by attending this fantastic Drag Beauty Pageant!
Join Us in Giving LGBTQ+ Youth a Fighting Chance to Live
The statistics around suicide in the LGBTQ+ youth community are heartbreaking, and that’s why Believe in Me has taken action to help fight against it. Our generous $7,500 grant will help fund ASIST suicide prevention training for Odyssey Youth Movement’s staff and the community to enable them to better provide aid and care to those battling suicidal thoughts. Want to get involved? You can help by attending our Believe in Me Drag Beauty Pageant this spring, donating funds for the cause, or volunteering your time. We hope you will join us on this vital mission to save lives—because we all know that someone out there needs our help and understanding more than ever. Everyone deserves a chance at life—so please come together with us and turn this tragedy into success. We are stronger as a unified front that believes that we can #SupportLGBTQ+Youth! Get tickets, make a donation, or volunteer today and take part in raising awareness about reducing suicide risks in LGBTQ+ youth through ASIST Suicide Prevention Training funded by Believe In Me.
Here are Some Hotlines to Call If You Need Help to Save a Life
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, it’s essential to reach out for help. No problem is too big, and suicide should never be a response. Consider all available options, including talking to loved ones or calling a suicide hotline for anonymous assistance. You can reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in the U.S. by dialing or texting 988. You can also call 800-273-8255. It’s staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides immediate assistance and can connect those in crisis directly with help near them if needed. Getting support from professionals who understand suicide and its impact can be incredibly helpful, no matter your circumstances.