Happy Thanksgiving! A Message of Gratitude in Uncertain Times

Dear Friends,

In these uncertain times, let me take a moment to express my sincere thanks for all of your support.   Every moment of every day, The Trevor Project hears from young people who question their futures.  And because of you – our supporters – we are here.   We know despite the messages they may be hearing in the news, or on social media – or at school, or home – that at Trevor there are people who care about them and that they are beautiful – just the way they are.

As the Executive Director and CEO of this unique organization, I have seen first-hand the power of our work.  In our soon-to-be released study with USC and the Children’s Hospital of L.A., feedback from LGBTQ youth reassures me that indeed we are making a difference and saving lives.  One anonymous youth told us, “The counselor helped me realize that my life still meant something to people and that I do matter.” Another noted how important it was to have a safer space, saying, “I was able to be fully open with the counselor without worrying about being judged or punished, the way I might be if I shared those things with my parents, friends, or peers at school.”

So, no matter what happens in the world, or what you hear in your communities — you can rest assured that as a friend and supporter of The Trevor Project, you are doing your part to make a difference in the lives of the LGBTQ youth of this country.

Thank you for everything you do for us – you make it possible for Trevor to be there for the youth who need us.  Now, more than ever before!

With sincere gratitude,

Abbe Land
Executive Director and CEO
The Trevor Project


Preliminary Report Indicates that The Trevor Project’s Suicide Prevention Services are Effective

A preliminary release of data from a new report conducted by The University of Southern California (USC) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) reveals the crucial need for The Trevor Project’s services.   In a survey conducted among youth who contacted The Trevor Project, over half of youth with medium or high-level suicide risk de-escalate their risk level during their interaction with Trevor counselors.  However, during the time between The Trevor Project contact and survey completion (average duration: 12 days), practically all (96%) of youth with medium or high-level suicide risk reported a de-escalation.

Strikingly, 26% of youth report they would not have contacted another helpline if Trevor did not exist, meaning that thousands of youth who need support might receive no help at all if Trevor were not available. Nearly all said they would contact The Trevor Project again if they experienced another crisis.

When participants were asked to explain what was helpful about their contact with Trevor, some of the most common themes youth described were the importance of having a non-judgmental space and the validation and acceptance they received from their counselors.  On de-escalation, one youth explained, “I was able to calm down and think through my problems individually, and feel safer in my own skin for a while. I stopped and looked at my choices and was able to cross suicide off my list of answers.”  Another noted the importance of access to a safe space, saying, “I was able to be fully open with the counselor without worrying about being judged or punished, the way I might be if I shared those things with my parents, friends, or peers at school.”

This report has also given insights into the diversity of the LGBTQ youth served by The Trevor Project.  Thirty-six percent of our youth identify as trans*, gender non-conforming, or are unsure of their gender identity.  Thirty-nine percent of individuals in the preliminary study who used Trevor’s services are youth of color.  A significant proportion of our youth have also experienced homelessness, and are dealing with a variety of stressors in school and at home. The majority of respondents reported feeling like an outcast because they are LGBTQ, and most believe they will have a worse life because they are LGBTQ.

In the exit surveys, having access to a validating and accepting space appears to be vital in creating hope for the future.  One youth noted that while speaking with a counselor, “I felt heard and important. I realized not everyone in the world is hateful and narrow minded.”  Another said, “It helped me be able to know that other people are understanding of my issues, and that I am not alone even when I feel like I am.”  Even in the face of diverse identities and challenges, with the support and care of The Trevor Project, LGBTQ are finding hope, strength, and pride.

While these are preliminary findings, we are pleased to see that the young people spoken to so far have confirmed that The Trevor Project’s life-saving work is effective.  The study will be concluded in the Spring of 2017 and The Trevor Project will share our findings as we work to ensure the best LGBTQ suicide prevention program in the country.


Share a Photo to Support LGBTQ+ Youth!

Until December 20th, there is an easy, FREE way to help save LGBTQ+ lives.  Support The Trevor Project by sharing your photos daily in Johnson & Johnson’s Donate A Photo app.

Follow these simple steps:
1. Download the app for Android or iOS.
2. Select The Trevor Project as your cause, and share your photos with the hashtag #PictureABrighterFuture.
3. Repeat daily, and for each photo shared, Johnson & Johnson will donate to The Trevor Project!

During November, the selfies shared were eligible to be featured on our billboard in Times Square!  We received thousands of photos, giving us hope in the incredible community of supporters that LGBTQ+ youth have all around the United States.  Our winner was Illyana from New York City, who took a photo with us under the billboard in Times Square!

 


Trace Lysette Has a Message for Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming Youth: You Matter

The Trevor Project celebrates Transgender Awareness Month for the entirety of November.  November 20th marked Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day in which we remembered those who have lost their lives.  To honor the resilience of our community, we released two special PSAs from Trace Lysette of Transparent.

Remember that no matter what your gender identity, The Trevor Project is here to support you. If you are curious about your own gender identity, or want to understand how to better support transgender and gender non-conforming folks in your community, take a look in our Support Center for information on gender identity. 

If you’re looking to take action, you can make a difference by donating, holding  a fundraiser for #GivingTuesday, volunteering, or becoming an Ambassador.

If you or someone you know needs help, know that we are here for you 24/7, every day of the year, at 866.488.7386, with more digital services available as well.  We are here to champion and support all LGBTQ youth, no matter what your identity.  Know that you are valid, and you matter.


The Trevor Project Celebrates Transgender Awareness Month

In a climate of fear, one of the most empowering things we can do is to educate.  Change and the unknown are scary, and fearful reactions can be negative, such as controlling or abusive behavior on a small scale, or hatred and bigotry on a mass scale.  Yet with awareness and education, change and the unknown can become opportunities for growth.  It is in this spirit that The Trevor Project celebrates Transgender Awareness Week, from November 14th to the 20th, and Transgender Awareness Month for the entirety of November.

During difficult times, we recognize our power and the power of our supporters to be an agents of change, transforming fear and bigotry into understanding and acceptance.  Our trailblazing Youth Advisory Council has included Eli Erlick who currently is the Director of Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER), the only national organization entirely led by trans youth. This Transgender Awareness Week they launched a Comprehensive Model Policy on Transgender Students for Four-Year Colleges and Universities. This policy addresses the best practices for four-year colleges and universities regarding enrollment, policy implementation, admissions, programs, facilities, safety, and more.

It is a critical time to take action at the local level, and this model policy helps to provide effective guidelines to creating a safer, healthier environment for transgender college and university students everywhere.  Use TSER’s model policy to educate and change policies within your own schools and communities.  Download and share these free posters and graphics to help raise understanding and compassion during Transgender Awareness Month.

November 20th marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day in which we honor those who have lost their lives. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, help build resilience with the community by joining our staff at the events below or visit this link of events compiled by TDOR.info. This is not a full list, so please check your area to find an event near you. To submit your own event, visit this link.  By coming together during this time, we can remind each other of the beauty and power within our community.

Remember that no matter what your gender identity, The Trevor Project is here to support you. If you are curious about your own gender identity, or want to understand how to better support transgender and gender non-conforming folks in your community, take a look in our Support Center for information on gender identity. 

If you’re looking to take action, you can make a difference by donating, running a fundraiser for #GivingTuesday, volunteering, or becoming an Ambassador. If you or someone you know needs help, know that we are here for you 24/7, every day of the year, at 866.488.7386, with more digital services available as well.  We are here to champion and support all LGBTQ youth, no matter what your identity.  Know that you are valid, and you matter.


Crisis Contacts from Youth to The Trevor Project Surge Immediately Following the Election

The election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence took many by surprise, especially young people. After a divisive campaign marked by threats of stripping LGBTQ rights, and arguably the most anti-LGBT political party platform in U.S. history, the Republicans took control of our congress and executive branch of government leading many to fear the worst. The potential impact among LGBTQ youth is particularly disturbing. After eight years of progressive policies that championed diversity and were supportive of LGBTQ people, many are highly concerned about their futures.

At The Trevor Project, the nation’s only accredited suicide prevention program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth under 25, we hear from youth every day about the struggles they are facing. Contacts to The Trevor Project’s crisis services programs (by phone, chat and text) reached unprecedented levels in the days following the election. Volume surged 116% in two days after election, and the organization heard from person after person about their fears and anxieties. Among the topics raised by LGBTQ youth are worries that their rights will be taken away, that they might be forced into conversion therapy, that they could lose their healthcare, and more. Several youth reported concerns about their safety and new reluctance about coming out. Anxieties like these have been shown to contribute towards increased thoughts about suicide.

“The Trevor Project was prepared for an increase in crisis contacts following the election, but the amount we received was unprecedented. The level of anxiety young people are expressing since the election is at an all-time high,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO. “But knowing that we are here 24/7, to listen to and save the lives of LGBTQ youth, many of whom have no other place to turn, reminds us of the importance and necessity of The Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project is determined to work diligently to lead the new Administration and Congress towards policies and laws that are supportive of LGBTQ people and their mental health. We will be at the table with our LGBTQ peer organizations and our partners fighting violence, deportations, police profiling, and other intersecting issues, providing guidance and support to lawmakers and agencies so that the youth of our great nation will be safe and will continue to thrive. We want a bright future for the youth of America, and we will do our part to make that a reality.


On #GivingTuesday, Show LGBTQ Youth We’re Here for Them

 

Last week we entered a new chapter in our history. The surprising election results have created so much uncertainty. After so many years of progress, LGBTQ people are wondering what’s to come. We are all concerned for the future of our young people.

In the days following the election, calls, chats, and texts from young people have reached the highest levels we’ve seen in Trevor’s history. They are calling us to tell us that they are frightened because:

  • They are worried that they will lose their rights
  • They are afraid to come out for fear of being rejected
  • They are terrified that conversion therapy will become acceptable (again)

The timing of this is also challenging, as the upcoming holidays can be difficult for LGBTQ youth who often feel all alone. In fact, winter is the busiest time of year for our emergency response volunteers. Last winter, we spent 402,300 minutes talking with young people who reached out to us for help. And this season, we’re taking steps to be as prepared as possible when the phone rings.

You can help. We’re participating in Giving Tuesday on November 29th, the global day dedicated to giving back. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season and is fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. By this date, we’re hoping to raise $25,000 to cover 25,000 more minutes of support to manage the spike in calls, texts and chats that we expect to increase during this winter. $1 helps keep our lines going for 1 more minute. With your help this season, we can fully ensure that LGBTQ youth know they are never alone.

Our youth deserve every minute…

Our counselors spend nearly 5,000 total minutes a day on our crisis lines responding to youth in emergencies during the holiday season. There are many ways to get involved in #GivingTuesday:

  • Make a gift to this campaign
  • $30 lets us talk to one youth for 30 minutes
  • $60 keeps our lines going for nearly an hour
  • $120 will cover one TrevorChat or TrevorText cris counselor’s shift

If you think you can raise $250 or more between now and November 29th, help us by becoming a fundraiser on our Giving Tuesday page.

Can you spare a couple minutes? Engage your community every Tuesday with stories about why you support The Trevor Project. Every Tuesday leading up to Giving Tuesday, we’ll be using Twitter and the hashtag #TrevorTuesday to feature donors like you who are building a brighter future for LGBTQ youth.

This Giving Tuesday help us raise $25,000. We at The Trevor Project believe in our youth.  We fight every day to save the lives of young LGBTQ people. And we will continue to lead the way for a brighter future for our youth, no matter what! Our phones are ringing off the hooks and with your support, we will continue to answer them 24/7 and save the lives of our precious young people.


The Future is Ours – Now More Than Ever!

The Trevor Project, like many others, is surprised by the outcome of this year’s election.  We have endured one of the toughest campaigns this country has ever experienced, and we are now facing a new reality.  But despite everything, we know that we have dealt with challenges before, and we have overcome them.

While today many of us may be uncertain about what’s to come, we must remember that our work does not begin or end with the presidency.  It’s in our families and communities and workplaces.  It’s in our everyday interactions.  This election brought our country’s deep divisions into sharp relief.  More than ever, we need to go high.  We need to understand why so many citizens feel disenfranchised and disconnected from the progress, multiculturalism and optimism we have experienced over the past several years.  We must remember that life is full of struggle and possibility, including the possibility of a future that is much brighter than the one we woke up to.

Our youth are looking to us to steer the way forward for them.  The Trevor Project has been here for the past 18 years, through thick and thin, saving young lives.  We are committed to playing a leadership role in continuing to make the world a brighter place for our youth.  We are dedicated to protecting LGBTQ and all youth and to proving that every person matters and that the future matters.

The best thing we can all do is to channel our frustration and disappointment into helping to make progress and to being there for each other – and for our youth.  Reach out and tell the young people in your life that you care about them.  Ask them how they are feeling and how you can help them.  The time is now – the future is ours!

If you or anyone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal, The Trevor Project is here to help, 24/7 at 866-488-7386.


We’re Partnering With The Mighty!

We’re thrilled to announce a new partnership that will bring Trevor Project’s resources in front of The Mighty‘s wide-reaching readership. We will now have a growing home page on The Mighty and appear on many stories on the site, allowing us to get many more people involved with our organization.

The Mighty is a story-based health community focused on improving the lives of people facing disease, disorder, mental illness and disability. More than half of Americans are facing serious health conditions or medical issues. They want more than information. They want to be inspired. The Mighty publishes real stories about real people facing real challenges.

We’re dedicated to providing comprehensive and support for LGBT people with mental illness in their lives. With this partnership, we’ll be able to help even more people.

We encourage you to submit a story to The Mighty and make your voice heard.


Alarming Rise in Death by Suicide Among 10-14 Year Old Youth

Data released in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Report shows that the rate of death by suicide among adolescents, 10 – 14 years old, has been on the rise and is now higher than that of death by motor vehicles.  In 2009 approximately 1 youth per 100,000 died by suicide, compared to 2014 when approximately 2 youth per 100,000 took their own lives.

At the Trevor Project, the nation’s only accredited suicide prevention program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth under 25, we hear from youth every day about the struggles they are facing.  According to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) report, we know that LGB young people in 9th to 12th grade attempt suicide at a rate more than four times that of their heterosexual peers.  While reliable national statistics for LGB youth in the 10 – 14 year old range do not exist, we know from the daily crisis calls, chats, and texts we receive that they too are at risk for suicidal ideation, particularly during this critical time in their identity development.

Of note, the rate of death by motor vehicles has dropped significantly over the same period that the rate of death by suicide has increased, among 10 – 14 year olds. The success in combatting motor vehicle deaths is attributable to a comprehensive approach including infrastructure improvements, policy and system change, partnerships, education and awareness, along with a major investment of over $576 million by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration funded in grants to promote motor vehicle safety and the U.S. If similar comprehensive, multifaceted national suicide prevention efforts were implemented and brought to scale, as outlined in the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, this country would have the potential to reverse the trend in suicide mortality.

“At The Trevor Project we are very disturbed to know that suicide is rising among the youth of this nation.  We receive calls from youth as young as 9 years old who are looking for support as they struggle with their sexual and gender identity,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project.  “It is imperative that more resources need to go toward preventing suicide in this country.  It is unconscionable that significant dollars are not allocated when we know that suicide can be prevented.  We call upon our national, state and local leaders to take action immediately.”

While incredibly informative about prevalence, the report does not include information on the causes of these trends.  There are certainly many contributing factors to consider, but is it also very important to note what can be done to foster resilience and safety for LGBTQ and other youth.  Families, schools, and communities must come together to reduce the risk for youth suicide by creating safe, connected environments that foster resiliency, non-violent problem solving skills, and coping skills.  In particular, the public can take part in improving the lives of young people who report being LGBTQ by showing them that we all care about their mental health:

  • Connect youth to Trevor’s crisis services.  We save young lives 24/7 through the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386.  TrevorChat.org is available 3-9 pm Eastern Time daily, and youth can text TrevorText to 202-304-1200 Thursday – Friday 4-8pm Eastern Time. Young people can also find friends on our online safe supportive community TrevorSpace.org as well as resources at our Support Center.
  • Create classrooms of peers who are better equipped to help through acceptance and support with Lifeguard, Trevor’s free online suicide prevention and crisis intervention education program for middle and high school students.
  • Advocate for the adoption of comprehensive, inclusive suicide prevention policies in school districts around the country and encourage the use of our Model School Policy which can help school districts draft suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies based on their specific needs.

Help create a bright future for LGBTQ and all youth by showing that you truly care and that they can thrive, they matter, and they deserve support.  More resources are available at www.thetrevorproject.org.  The Trevor Project is a partner of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the public-private partnership advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and championing suicide prevention as a national priority.