World Mental Health Day

October 10, 2015 is World Mental Health Day. In the United States, mental health is much more accepted as a part of overall health than it is in many other countries across the world.  We are privileged to be able to talk about it in this country, which we hope encourages those who are struggling feel more open to getting help. This allows us to decrease the stigma and is key to suicide prevention efforts like The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is a safe place for LGBTQ youth to open up about their identities, and the counseling they receive on the Trevor Lifeline, TrevorText, TrevorChat, or on TrevorSpace.org can be a crucial part of improving their state of mind.

With LGBQ youth being three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers and transgender youth having an even higher risk, suicide prevention and crisis intervention services like ours are key to public health. For youth who face suicidal thoughts, they often feel hopeless and may believe they have no one to turn to for support. However, there are alternatives to sitting in the hopelessness, and at The Trevor Project, our trained counselors are here to help youth ages 13-24 explore alternative ways of thinking.

Warning Signs

If you or someone you know notices changes such as those in the list below, it may be time to address feelings of sadness, despair, loneliness, or immense hopelessness with a professional, our trained counselors, close friends, or a trusted family member.

1. Sleeping too much or too little

2. Losing appetite or overeating

3. Difficulty concentrating
4. Phasing out

5. Isolating

6. Activities that used to give you enjoyment no longer do

Coping Strategies
When you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to connect with a supportive community around you, like TrevorSpace.org. Reaching out to friends and loving family members can help you feel like you’re not alone and that people care about you. Know also that sometimes, you can’t change the way you feel, but you can work on changing the way you think about things. If you can consider a new perspective, sometimes the way you feel about things will change too. Taking care of yourself, with activities such as the examples below, can help you shift your mindset.

1. Journal out your thoughts

2. Schedule fun events (go to the movies, a park, dance, play sports)

3. Do something creative that fuels your mind

4. Spend time with friends

5. Exercise

6. Meditate

7. Visit a mental health professional (therapist, school counselor, or psychiatrist)

8. If you are spiritual, connect with a supportive and affirming religious leader or spiritual healer you trust

9. Identify what feels good and bad in your life, then minimize the bad to feel more balanced

Know that help is always available and people do want to support you when you’re experiencing mental health issues, even if you may feel like a burden. Surround yourself with people who care, and you may find your mental health improving.

Chronic Mental Health Issues
Some people do experience chronic mental health issues. In this case, seeking out a mental health professional can be particularly helpful. Be sure to talk to your doctor to figure out what’s best for you.

Staying mentally healthy is like taking care of your physical fitness. You can’t exercise just once and expect to be healthy. It’s important to consistently examine how you’re doing and give yourself check-ups once in a while. The good news is, there is support out there, and you are not alone.

If you or someone you know has been considering suicide or has been feeling down lately, call our Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or find a supportive community online at TrevorSpace.org.


How We Raised Awareness During National Coming Out Day and Spirit Day

Just before and after the coming out process, LGBTQ youth are at highest risk for suicide. While the coming out process can be an acknowledgment of one’s own gender identity and/or sexual orientation, it doesn’t have to be done publicly. Coming out to oneself is just as valid.  However, many LGBTQ youth experience high levels of stress and anxiety about the process of coming out — before, they may worry about what their friends and parents will say, possible victimization, and how they will be treated at school; after, they may have to grapple with a possible loss of their support system. In fact, more than one-third of LGBTQ youth lose friends through the coming out process and those from highly rejecting families are eight times more likely to attempt suicide.

Because National Coming Out Day can be especially triggering for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project wanted to show our support of all, regardless of whether people chose to come out or not. Our Crisis Services Director, Ashby Dodge, made a video with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center about the necessity of forming culturally competent care with the LGBTQ community, including forming workshops and trainings about recognizing differences between gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and biological sex, as well as asking about gender pronouns and identities, and not making judgements or assumptions. With such culturally competent environments, we can build a more accepting future in which LGBTQ youth feel more open to seeking help, support systems, and resources.

To focus on building a supportive community for LGBTQ youth for National Coming Out Day, we shared a series of life-affirming images throughout the week on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. We also prepared a Twibbon campaign in which over 1000 folks participated in just a few hours, sharing that The Trevor Project was a resource for LGBTQ youth who were struggling through the coming out process. The Advocate featured our photo campaign, we highlighted our coming out resources on social media, and we saw many youth reach out to us.

To continue our support of LGBTQ youth, on October 15, we participated in nonprofit GLAAD’s Spirit Day, which aims to raise awareness about bullying prevention efforts in the LGBTQ community. We dressed in purple with our partners at Kimpton and offered tips on bullying prevention across our social media channels. GLAAD also featured us on their blog, showing how nonprofits banded together to raise awareness. Showing LGBTQ youth we care and that we are here for them is key to preventing suicide, and doing so in an engaging way was powerful for our community this month. 


What We Did During Suicide Prevention Month

We are faced with the staggering statistic that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24, and that youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Even more heartbreaking is the fact that the risks for the transgender community are higher. These statistics must change, and we know that with our crisis services, education and advocacy efforts, and your support, The Trevor Project can make a difference.

During Suicide Prevention Month in September, we highlighted our program OktoAsk.org to raise awareness about the importance of asking for help when needed. Through the Trevor Lifeline, TrevorText, TrevorChat, and TrevorSpace.org, we want to show youth that there are supportive environments they can turn to—even in their darkest moments.

World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 was a time for us to raise awareness about our mission as the national suicide prevention resource for LGBTQ youth. When long-time friend and supporter Victoria Justice wanted to partner with us around this issue, we couldn’t say no. Ten percent of pre-sales of her LGBTQ-friendly film Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List went to our life-saving mission. And, to impact the thousands of teens who tweeted about our partnership, we asked them to text VICTORIA to 41444 to further their support and take action with us by making commitments to volunteeradvocate, or donate.

In addition, we took part in Action Alliance’s Google hangout, tabled at the World Suicide Prevention Day Conference, and we continued to raise awareness on Twitter and Facebook. To show your support, share our video with Victoria Justice or text VICTORIA to 41444. Raising awareness and donating to us throughout the year will directly impact the youth we serve.


In The Office: Self-Care Potluck

With the high-stress crisis intervention and suicide prevention services we provide, compassion fatigue and burnout can be common among our staff and volunteers, so we try to remind one another of how important self-care is, whether that involves meditation, exercise, reading, getting out in nature, taking time off, eating well, getting good sleep, or connecting with friends. On September 3, to inspire our Trevor Lifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat volunteers and employees, we held a Self-Care Potluck.

 

We also celebrated the launch of a Self-Care Photo Scavenger Hunt for volunteers, which took place on their private Facebook groups. Volunteers were invited to take photos of themselves practicing self-care, and if they did any five out of a list of ten activities, they were entered to win a ticket to see the “It Gets Better” concert presented by The Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. on October 10. Check out the winning photo here.

We will continue our self-care practices throughout the year, and if you have any self-care practices you’d like to share with us, please Tweet or Instagram us at @trevorproject with hashtag #LGBTQselfcare. Let’s inspire our community members to nurture their mental health and well-being.


How Do You Start an LGBTQ Conversation With The Pope? Hand Out #Popesicles

With the hope of bringing LGBTQ visibility to Philadelphia during Pope Francis’ visit on September 25, we partnered with the Lil Pop Shop and the advertising agency Tierney in creating and offering rainbow-colored Popesicles celebrating equal rights (and flavors).

Popesicles set up a mobile pop-up shop on 13th and Locust, encouraging the city of Philadelphia and its national visitors to enjoy a tasty, tolerant treat and help support our life-saving, life-affirming services.

Visitors were greeted by Mr. Popesicle, a dynamic rainbowed character who inspired people to Tweet and Instagram @trevorproject as they all “licked intolerance together.”

Popesicles were sold throughout the weekend at the Lil Pop Shop in University City (265 S 44th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104) and you can follow the conversation online with the hashtag #Popesicles. To keep the support going, you can text Popesicles to 41444.


The Impact Circle Kicks Off Its First Fall Gathering

Do you live in the New York area and are you eager to make a bigger impact with The Trevor Project? Join new and long-standing supporters for our new major donor membership program, the Impact Circle, on October 15, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., at their annual fall gathering, hosted by the New York office of international PR firm Edelman, with event chairs Chris Allieri, Ben Boyd, Virginia “Gina” Munoz, and Joshua Schulman.

Impact Circle membership helps support and grow The Trevor Project’s crisis intervention and suicide prevention services. Building upon the past Friends of Trevor giving program, the Impact Circle gathering is an opportunity to learn about our latest efforts to create a brighter future for LGBTQ youth. Network with some of the biggest influencers in philanthropy and consider becoming an Impact Circle member or elevating your membership at the event by pledging annual contributions of $1,200 or greater. Address provided upon RSVP by October 9.


What Five Things Matter Most to Our Youth Advisory Council?

On October 17, our Youth Advisory Council will be meeting with our board to present five issues that the nation’s LGBTQ youth care about so that The Trevor Project can serve our youth even better and increase our visibility through outreach and programmatic efforts.

Comprised of 20 members across the country, ages 16-24, the YAC serves as a liaison between youth nationwide and The Trevor Project, where members have the opportunity to become leaders in suicide prevention, sexuality, and gender identity.

If you’d like to join the YAC, look out for our applications to open up later this year, and in the meantime, check out how to get involved with volunteer and advocacy opportunities.


Victoria Justice Supports The Trevor Project

#AskForHelp is the message of The Trevor Project’s new PSA campaign. Too often, we’re afraid to ask for help when we really need it. After all, asking for help isn’t always easy. Figuring out where to start or who to turn to can be overwhelming and we may not want to bother anyone with our worries or fears.

But the truth about asking for help is that no problem is too big or too small. There are helpers everywhere – parents, teachers, adults, counselors, neighbors, religious leaders and Trevor counselors – who are there to listen when you need support. Asking for help may be scary, but it’s also one of the bravest things you can do.

Ask for Help – It’s the first step to getting the support you need. Are you ready to ask for help? Contact The Trevor Project to talk with a trained counselor at 1-866-488-7386.


World Suicide Prevention Day & LGBTQ Youth

On September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, long-time supporter Victoria Justice explains the startling statistics affecting LGBTQ youth. If you are in need, remember, it’s brave to #AskforHelp (OkToAsk.org) or call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. And, to support our crisis intervention and suicide prevention services so that we can help end suicide for our youth, text VICTORIA to 41444 to donate. If you’d like to extend your support through September 18th, download Victoria’s film “Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List” and 10 percent of proceeds will go to The Trevor Project. Help save young LGBTQ lives on World Suicide Prevention Day.


Supreme Court Upholds Marriage Equality

By Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project

Today we celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold marriage equality across America. This historic ruling not only affects couples who have been fighting to obtain the basic civil right to get married, but also the many youth who live in families with same-sex parents. Today, all youth, including those who identify as LGBTQ, can have hope that they will grow up in a nation that is moving towards respecting all human rights.

These are exciting times of positive change. The people of our nation are experiencing what is being called “a transgender tipping point” in how the American public views transgender people and their stories; witnessing a powerful social media movement that is bringing to light why all lives matter; and taking a deeper understanding of the need for crisis intervention for our at-risk youth.

Though we all are extremely happy about the Supreme Court’s decision, we at The Trevor Project know that the fight will continue to reach many more milestones and positive changes that shape the future of our youth.

Media Inquiries:

Shawn Steiner, Marketing and Communications Director at The Trevor Project

[email protected]

tel 212.695.8650 ext.402