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 1-866-488-7386.  TrevorChat.org is available 3-9 pm Eastern Time daily, and youth can text TrevorText by sending the message TREVOR to 1-202-304-1200 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.


The Trevor Project Goes to Mexico to Advise on Creation of Suicide and Crisis Intervention Hotline

In October, The Trevor Project was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico to visit Mexico City to provide consultation with local organizers seeking to create crisis services for LGBTQ youth.  As the only nationally accredited suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth under age 25, The Trevor Project was chosen as an expert in the field of suicide prevention for LGBTQ people by the U.S. Embassy.  The Trevor Project was honored to represent the United States abroad as a consultant on how to create lifesaving programs for LGBTQ people.

Consultants from The Trevor Project were David Bond, LCSW, Vice President of Programs, and Brock Dumville, MPH, Senior Crisis Services Manager, who met with a local group of community influencers and LGBTQ advocates in Mexico City, including Alex Orué, the Regional Coordinator for It Gets Better in Latin America.  20 million people live in Mexico City, making it the largest urban center in Mexico and a key place to begin this lifesaving work.  Building from there, community organizers hope to reach out to parts of the country with more complicated access.

“We are grateful that the U.S. Embassy in Mexico understood that programs like those of The Trevor Project could help save young LGBTQ lives outside the U.S.,” said Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project.  “We hope to use our expertise to consult with other international communities so that LGBTQ youth around the globe will have the benefit of knowing that there is a place for them to turn if they are in need.”

Over the course of two days in Mexico City, The Trevor Project communicated best practices from its work, covering 5 core programs and focusing specifically on Crisis Services, Peer Support Programs, and Education.  Local organizers discussed the particular needs of Mexico’s LGBTQ population, and what programs could be relevant, or what could be modified culturally to serve the unique needs of their community.  Day one was focused on strategic organizational planning, including assembling an advisory board and roles, an environmental scan of their resources and deficits.  Day two was focused on suicide theory and intervention strategies.

The two-day consultation left organizers in Mexico with inspiring ideas and a tangible roadmap to build lifesaving programs for LGBTQ people.  With the support of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, United States-based NGOs are expanding their reach to start an international dialogue on how to save lives from suicide.  These cultural exchanges spread understanding for intervention strategies, support for mental health services, and compassion for LGBTQ people. The Trevor Project is honored to be recognized as a leader in suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth both nationally and internationally, and grateful for the support of the United States government in creating a more supportive world for LGBTQ people.


AB 2246 Passes: CA Becomes First State in The Nation With Suicide Prevention Education

Governor Jerry Brown has established a national precedent by signing AB 2246, a bill that requires the adoption of suicide prevention, intervention, and follow-up plans by local California school districts with students in grades 7-12. Co-authored with The Trevor Project, Equality California, and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, AB 2246 is the first state bill of its kind in the nation, as it mandates that all schools in California implement suicide prevention policies that specifically address the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.  The bill requires local education agencies to develop  their policies in conjunction with suicide prevention experts, school and community stakeholders, and school mental health professionals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24. Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and nearly half of transgender people have thought about suicide.

Assemblymember O’Donnell believes that suicide prevention training for teachers and schools is crucial for saving young lives. “As classroom teacher, I know from experience that educators often serve as the first line of defense when a student is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “AB 2246 will provide parents, teachers and schools with the tools they need to help save the lives of at-risk youth.”

“Nearly 20 percent of young people who reach out to The Trevor Project’s suicide prevention programs are from California. AB 2246 will provide parents, teachers and schools the tools they need to recognize students at risk for suicide and understand how to help, which will surely decrease the risk among youth in the state” says Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project.

“Aside from students’ own families, teachers often spend more time with at-risk kids than anyone else,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California. “But it is difficult help if they don’t recognize the warning signs or have access to resources at their schools. With the first state law in the nation to require middle and high school suicide prevention education that specifically requires attention to the needs of LGBTQ youth, California can now serve as a model for schools nationally.”

The Trevor Project is proud to have participated in the hearings that took place in Sacramento and thanks Boardmember Lindsay Chambers for testifying along with Trevor’s ED and CEO, Abbe Land.  We also thank Governor Jerry Brown for this groundbreaking step in LGBTQ advocacy and education efforts.


Rory Training Advocacy

You can take part in improving the lives of 1.3 million high school students who report being LGBTQ by showing them that you care about their mental health:

  • Connect youth to Trevor’s crisis services. We save young lives 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. TrevorChat.org is available 3-9 pm ET and 12-6 pm PT daily, and youth can text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200 Thurs-Friday 4-8 pm ET and 1-5 pm PT. 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 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 with our Model School Policy, which can help school districts draft suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies based on their specific needs.

Help create a brighter future for LGBTQ youth by showing them that despite discrimination, violence, and victimization, LGBTQ youth can thrive, they matter, and they deserve support. The Trevor Project is actively working with the Federal Government through our Government Affairs team to find ways to include the wide spectrum of sexualities and gender identities in future surveys. Please sign up for our Advocacy Network so we can alert you when you need to take action and to support, donate here. For more information and resources, visit thetrevorproject.org.


Advocacy Updates: Our Continued Fight For Mental Health Reform

With so much going on in the world, from the 2016 election to tragic violence, now is the time to show LGBTQ youth that we are fighting for their well-being and a brighter future for all. We have to become a part of the solution, whether that means taking action in the LGBTQ community, calling local politicians, or having discussions about the issues that matter. Here are some examples of how The Trevor Project has been taking action for LGBTQ youth through our Advocacy department.

Fighting Against Conversion Therapy
Support of “conversion therapy” is being included in a major political party platform, yet it has been denounced by every major medical association in the United States as a dangerous and discredited practice that can put more young lives at risk of suicide. The Trevor Project took action in July by speaking against it in an op-ed for The Advocate. We also wrote a letter to Councilmember M. Lorena González, urging her to pass CB 118746, which has since passed and will now ban conversion therapy in Seattle. The Trevor Project has helped pass similar laws in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, and we will continue the fight to ban this harmful practice across the nation.

Helping Reauthorize the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act
In July, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), introduced and spearheaded by Representative Tim Murphy as a comprehensive mental health reform bill that among other things, reauthorizes many important and effective mental health programs, including the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. GLSMA provides grants to states, tribes and tribal organizations, and colleges to prevent youth suicide, and also funds a national suicide prevention technical assistance center.

“The reauthorization of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act is one of Trevor’s key legislative priorities. Every 95 minutes a young person takes their life by suicide. We now urge the Senate to take this bill up so needed resources can continue to save young lives,” says Abbe Land, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project.

New CDC Study Inspires Trevor’s Model School Policy Advocacy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released their 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) study, which displays the first body of knowledge that depicts a nationally representative sample of lesbian, gay, and bisexual high school students. It is disheartening to note in CDC’s study that in the last year, 43% of LGB students in grades 9-12 seriously considered suicide, 38.2% made a suicide plan, and roughly 30% attempted suicide.

With the rate of LGB suicide attempts severe enough to require medical attention being almost five times higher than that of straight students, you can take part in improving the lives of 1.3 million high school students who report being LGB:

  • Connect youth to Trevor’s crisis services. We save young lives 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. TrevorChat.org is available 3-9 pm Eastern Time and 12-6 pm Pacific Time daily, and youth can text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200 Thurs-Friday 4-8 pm Eastern Time and 1-5 pm Pacific 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 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 with our Model School Policy, which can help school districts draft suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies based on their specific needs.

You can learn more in Abbe Land’s op-ed in The Advocate.

To help continue our fight to make change across the nation, please visit our Advocacy page and become a part of taking action for LGBTQ youth on state and federal levels.


CDC’s 2015 YRBS Displays Significant Data on LGB Youth Suicide

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released the results of the Youth Risk Behavior Study (YRBS) that measures results among lesbian, gay, and bisexual high school students. This survey measures a variety of risks ranging from substance use to seat belt utilization. Most importantly for The Trevor Project, the YRBS also identifies the prevalence of suicidal thoughts, plans, behaviors and attempts.

While the YRBS has previously taken some measurement of the risk behaviors of LGB youth in a few states and large cities, the 2015 data released today is unique because it is the first body of knowledge on this topic that depicts a nationally representative sample of LGB youth. Although it is progress that some sexualities have been included in this study, we recognize that the wide spectrum of sexualities and gender identities have yet to be studied. More data needs to be collected on transgender youth, as nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt.

It is devastating to note in CDC’s study that in the last year, 43% of LGB students in grades 9-12 seriously considered suicide, 38% made a suicide plan, and nearly 30% attempted suicide. The CDC has further identified that LGB students are more than four times more likely than their straight peers to have a suicide attempt severe enough to require medical attention. This 2015 study shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual students are as much as three times more likely to experience physical and sexual dating violence than their heterosexual peers. As the only national accredited suicide prevention and crisis intervention service for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project knows that when combined with other risk factors and a lack of support, such violence can put young people at high risk for suicide. These rates are significantly higher than those of heterosexual students, demonstrating the increased attention that needs to focus on these vulnerable populations.

While incredibly informative about prevalence, the YRBS does not report on causes of these challenges. There are certainly many contributing factors to consider, but it is also very important to note what can be done to foster resilience and safety for LGB youth. Families, schools, and communities must come together to reduce the risk for LGBTQ youth suicide by creating safe environments, helping youth connect to family, peers, and other caring adults who can provide support and links to services.

You can take part in improving the lives of 1.3 million high school students who report being LGBTQ by showing them that you care about their mental health:

  • Connect youth to Trevor’s crisis services. We save young lives 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. TrevorChat.org is available 3-9 pm Eastern Time and 12-6 pm Pacific Time daily, and youth can text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200 Thurs-Friday 4-8 pm Eastern Time and 1-5 pm Pacific 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 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 with our Model School Policy, which can help school districts draft suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies based on their specific needs.

Help create a brighter future for LGBTQ youth by showing them that despite discrimination, violence, and victimization, LGBTQ youth can thrive, they matter, and they deserve support. The Trevor Project is actively working with the Federal Government through our Government Affairs team to find ways to include the wide spectrum of sexualities and gender identities in future surveys. You can take action through our Advocacy Page and share our resources at thetrevorproject.org.

Abbe Land

Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project


Conversion Therapy Support Should Be Excluded From All Party Platforms

July 11, 2016, Washington, DC – “Conversion therapy” is a dangerous and discredited practice denounced by every major medical association in the United States and support for it must not be included in any major political party platform.  More commonly known as “pray away the gay,” this approach attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity often through activities that equate to physical and psychological abuse and torture. Research has unequivocally shown that conversion therapy does not work and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has issued calls for its end.

“A preponderance of evidence shows that conversion therapy poses real health risks to LGBTQ youth including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, risky behavior, and suicidal ideation. We urge all participants involved in deciding party platforms to use science to drive decision-making.  And to ensure no platform policy is designed to hurt, discriminate, or take away basic liberties and freedoms for LGBT people,” says Abbe Land, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth in the United States between the ages of 13 to 24, and LGB youth are more four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Families that reject their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity often send their child to undergo conversion therapy.  Research has shown that youth from highly rejecting families are more than eight times as likely to attempt suicide.  It is incumbent upon our nation’s leaders and political parties to adopt platforms that are rooted in scientific research and do not put more young lives at risk of suicide.

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT:
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, educational materials, online resources, and advocacy. For more information, visit www.TheTrevorProject.org.

 

(Image via forcechange.com)


Bill to Prevent LGBTQ Youth Suicide Advances in the United States Congress

July 7, 2016, Washington, DC – Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth in the United States between the ages of 13 to 24. Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, and nearly half of all transgender individuals report attempting suicide at some point in their lives.

The United States House of Representatives voted today to pass a bill that includes measures to halt and reverse these shocking statistics. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), introduced and spearheaded by Representative Tim Murphy is a comprehensive mental health reform bill that among other things, reauthorizes many important and effective mental health programs, including the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act.

“The reauthorization of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act is one of Trevor’s key legislative priorities this year.  Every 95 minutes a young person takes their life by suicide.  We now urge the Senate to take this bill up so needed resources can continue to save young lives,” says Abbe Land, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project.

Initially created and named after former Senator Gordon Smith’s son, Garrett, who died by suicide in 2003, the program provides grants to states, tribes and tribal organizations, and colleges to prevent youth suicide, and also funds a national suicide prevention technical assistance center.  To date all 50 states, 48 tribes and over 175 colleges have received funds to prevent youth suicide, including many grantees that have chosen interventions to specifically address LGBTQ youth suicide.

The Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) program has strong bipartisan support and has been shown to be effective. A recent evaluation showed decreases in suicide rates for states that had GLS funds, yet when programs were ended, suicide rates increased. This points to the vital need to sustain resources to ensure our nation’s LGBTQ youth have help and hope available.

We applaud the House of Representatives for passing this important mental health bill.  We now immediately call for the Senate leadership to schedule a vote on the Mental Health Reform Act (S.2680), a similar bill that also includes a provision to reauthorize the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. Both chambers of Congress must pass these measures to ensure an uninterrupted system of support for youth to prevent this major public health problem.

ABOUT THE TREVOR PROJECT:
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis intervention and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. Every day, The Trevor Project saves young lives through its free and confidential lifeline, educational materials, online resources, and advocacy. For more information, visit www.TheTrevorProject.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Amy Loudermilk, Assoc. Director of Government Affairs
[email protected]
202-974-5952


LGBTQ Advocacy: Fighting For LGBTQ Youth Across The Nation

Despite the adversity we’ve faced, in the last two months, we’ve seen a lot of change and progress for the LGBTQ community, including the Pentagon repealing its ban on transgender people serving in the military and two transgender women winning their primaries in Utah and Colorado. From a youth suicide prevention bill clearing the California Assembly to the Obama Administration issuing a guidance protecting transgender public students nationwide, we are paving the way for a brighter future for LGBTQ youth. Learn more about how we’re continuing the fight for equality here.

Trevor Calls for Stricter Gun Control Legislation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, access to firearms enabled 2,444 young people ages 10-24 to take their own lives. This accounted for 44 percent of all suicide deaths for that age range in the US. We are standing up against gun violence with over 30 organizations in LGBTQ and gun control movements. On June 29, we participated in a National Day of Action for stricter gun control legislation roundtable hosted by Los Angeles Congress members Lucille Roybal-Allard, Karen Bass, Judy Chu, Xavier Becerra, and Maxine Waters. Learn more here and see our most recent post about our need to keep fighting for youth in The Advocate.

Youth Suicide Prevention Bill Clears California Assembly

On June 1, 2016, California approved AB 2246, a bill that would require the adoption of comprehensive suicide prevention plans by local California school districts with students in grades 7-12. Co-authored with Equality California, The Trevor Project, and Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell, AB 2246 now has to move to the Senate for approval. Learn more in The Advocate from our Associate Director of Government Affairs, Amy Loudermilk, about how we helped pass a similar bill in Washington D.C.

 

Executive Director and CEO Abbe Land visited The White House Summit to speak about the needs of African American LGBTQ youth. Discussions addressed the importance of creating safe spaces on the internet and in schools, as well as the health and income disparities that impact  African American LGBTQ youth. Abbe discussed our free online Lifeguard program, which teaches suicide prevention and crisis intervention to youth-serving professionals, and the importance of addressing intersectionality when creating programs and addressing needs. Since this talk, Trevor has participated in Twitter advocacy chats regarding LGBTQ data inclusion in government surveys, transgender health, intersectionality and social activism. Follow along in these important conversations on Twitter.

For advocacy updates, sign up for our Advocacy Network so we can alert you when you need to take action.


The Trevor Project Calls For Stricter Gun Control Legislation

The Trevor Project joins many of our colleagues in LGBTQ and gun violence prevention movements to call for stricter gun control legislation.

In the days immediately following the shooting in Orlando, contacts to our crisis services reached our highest levels this year.  Furthermore, many young people are expressing fear, confusion and heightened anxiety, and are telling us that they are afraid to be who they truly are.

As the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth up to age 24, we know the impacts of gun violence all too well. We’ve seen the loss of lives due to mass shootings—in addition to the loss of youth who used a gun to end their lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, access to firearms enabled 2,444 young people ages 10-24 to take their own lives.  This accounts for 44 percent of all suicide deaths for that age range in the US. Something must be done.

There must be an adoption of strong laws that 1) ban the sale of semiautomatic firearms, including handguns, rifles, and assault weapons; 2) support background checks for all gun sales, as well as training on gun safety; and 3) have safe storage of guns in the home. These are sensible approaches to reducing gun violence and ensuring a safer future for all.

Our youth need The Trevor Project to be a champion in the fight to restrict access to guns in this country. We will demand that our leaders take action, and we ask that you join us in this fight.

  • Please sign up for our Advocacy Network so we can alert you when you need to take action.
  • Please donate so we can ensure we are there to advocate and answer the calls from our youth when they are concerned for their own safety and well-being.

The Trevor Project is committed to ensuring our youth know they are not alone and that we are here for them, 24/7, fighting for their future.

Abbe Land

Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project