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The Trevor Project Commends the FCC on its Report on the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018

BY: Kinzi Sparks
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Today the FCC released its “Report on the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018,” reporting on the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act that Congress passed last August. Today’s report recognizes LGBTQ young Americans as a high risk population for suicide attempts and calls for specialized services to better support LGBTQ youth and veterans. The below is a statement from Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.

Statement from The Trevor Project on Federal Communication Commission’s New Report on the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018:

“Today’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report on the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018 recognizes young LGBTQ Americans as an acutely high risk population for suicide attempts.  The report also recognizes a need for specialized services for at risk populations, specifically LGBTQ youth.

As the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project’s work illustrates that such services are effective.  Third-party researchers recently found that over 90% of youth in crisis who use The Trevor Project resources were successfully moved out of a state of crisis.

As the process moves forward, The Trevor Project urges the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), Congress and the FCC to act on the report’s finding regarding the need to appropriately address specialized services for LGBTQ youth when improving the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) and designating a 3-digit dialing code.

The Trevor Project thanks FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for his leadership on this important issue and for making LGBTQ youth a priority in our nation’s efforts to reduce suicide.  We are also grateful to Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel, Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks for hearing the voices of vulnerable young people.

The Trevor Project urges federal officials to act quickly to make the NSPL more effective by for LGBTQ youth by training NSPL counselors in LGBTQ cultural competency and establishing an integrated voice response (IVR) to route calls to organizations with the appropriate specialized services to assist LGBTQ youth in crisis.”

Statistics from The Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2019:

  • 39% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered
  • 71% of LGBTQ youth reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the past year
  • 71% of LGBTQ youth in our study reported discrimination due to either their sexual orientation or gender identity

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said, “There is a suicide epidemic in this country, and it is disproportionately affecting at-risk populations, including our Veterans and LGBTQ youth,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Crisis call centers have been shown to save lives. This report recommends using a three-digit number to make it easier to access the critical suicide prevention and mental health services these call centers provide. I intend to move forward on this recommendation. In the meantime, my heart goes out to anyone facing a crisis. I hope they will contact 1-800-273-TALK for support today.”

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