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 START to 678678 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.


Trevor Board Updates

As the new fiscal year begins this August 2016, we welcome two new board members to The Trevor Project.

Based in San Francisco, Mike Dillon is a partner with the global professional services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers, serving as their Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer.  Now sitting on the San Francisco AIDS Foundation Board, Mike will continue to work with the Audit Committee of The Trevor Project as a Board member.

Raised in rural Missouri, Thomas Sanchez is now based in Washington DC.  Thomas is the founder and CEO of Social Driver, which was recently awarded by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for being the “supplier of the year,” helping businesses succeed using digital strategy, research & analytics, creative design, campaign execution, and technology. Thomas now serves on the Washington DC’s Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, and is seen as a leader on national tech policy issues and trends.

Michael Norton and Stacy Smithers have been voted in as co-chairs and the other officers will continue their positions for another year.

Along with selecting new officers and board members, the Board also adopted the budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which includes increased resources for crisis services, the continuation of data collection for our research/evaluation project with USC, and additional funding dedicated to expanding the awareness of Trevor’s services.

We thank our Board members for their leadership in helping us develop our staff and programs so that we can continue our fight to save young lives.


Trevor Outreach Across The Nation

Lost-n-Found Youth executive director Rick Westbrook (l) and actor and activist Josh Hutcherson (r). (Photo by Patrick Saunders)

The Trevor Project has been connecting with champions of LGBTQ youth across the nation as we raise awareness about our suicide prevention and crisis intervention work. In July, through our PowerON initiative, we co-hosted an event with Lost-N-Found Youth, an organization that works to end homelessness for LGBTQ youth in Atlanta. With nearly 40 percent of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ and an estimated 650,000 homeless LGBT youth nationally, it is crucial that we show we are there for them, especially when they may struggle getting connected to resources.

Trevor’s Youth Advisory Councilmember Tom Woermer, LGBT Tech, human IT, and Straight But Not Narrow came together to help raise $3,000 dollars for PowerON so that we could provide refurbished computers and cell phones to youth and connect them to Trevor’s lifesaving services. 10 laptops and 28 solar chargers were donated at our event, with Josh Hutcherson in attendance, along with 200 folks, including Rep. Park Cannon – 58th District GA, four Atlanta City Council Members, and two Atlanta City School Board Members. According to ThinkProgress.org, “Having a phone can be the difference between sleeping in a public space, risking physical harm, and calling a trusted friend, family member, or case worker who can give you a place to stay…and 62 percent of homeless youth own a cellphone but only 40 percent have a working phone..” Learn more about why being connected to tech is crucial for the mental health and well-being of homeless LGBTQ youth in the video below.

The Trevor Project has also been lucky to connect with Miss Missouri, Erin O’ Flaherty, the first openly gay Miss America contestant, as she raises awareness about our suicide prevention efforts among the LGBTQ community in the South and beyond. Miss Missouri marched with us and YouTube star Brendan Jordan for our San Diego Pride event. It was so meaningful to the LGBTQ community there, and we thank Trevor Ambassador Joshua Coyne for organizing such an empowering event. We look forward to working with them in the future. You can check out some of our Tweets here and our first Facebook LIVE video, which got over 10K views.

You can join our fight to save young lives at our upcoming events in Miami August 28, Chicago September 16, and San Diego September 24 with Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. Thank you for being a warrior for LGBTQ youth. Showing them that they matter can help us save lives.


Statement From The Trevor Project On The Tragic Events in Orlando

As we read the accounts and witness the aftermath of the heinous acts of bigotry and hatred that occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, we must be very clear in knowing that this country will be impacted for many years to come. This attack was specifically targeted at the LGBT community. Lives were callously taken or forever changed as they were gathering in what was believed to be a safe space, where people can convene in solidarity and share pride in their community

Adding to the heartbreak, and undeniable fear, we feel about these events, was the arrest outside of West Hollywood of a person whose car was filled with weapons to specifically hurt and kill LGBT people. This is another horrible reminder of how some in the world see our community, even in this day and age.

As the Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project, the only national accredited crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization serving LGBTQ youth, I know first-hand about the struggles of LGBTQ young people. Every minute, every day young people reach out to us because they feel alone, misunderstood and vulnerable. How can we reassure them that everything is ok, when all around them, they continue to hear messages of hate and intolerance? Our youth see and feel that we are currently in a struggle to fight for rights and opportunities that seem so basic—the right to use the bathroom of your gender. The right to receive adequate mental health services. And now the freedom to be with your community for a night of relaxation and socializing, without fear.

These blatant acts of violence against the LGBT community send horrible messages of hate to young people. In a time that seems like much progress has been made in the LGBTQ community, The Trevor Project is very aware of the challenges young people still face in being their true selves. They are already being barraged by rhetoric from homophobic and transphobic politicians and laws being presented in states throughout our nation and now they have a visual representation of what hatred can do. It is our job as an organization and our job as a people to protect our youth. To protect our future. Young people need resources to properly process the challenges they are facing on a minute-by-minute basis. They need all of our help. We need to stand up, unite, and continue the fight.

While watching the response today, I am heartened and hope our young people are as well. There is a unified outrage from so many segments of the world’s population, not only the LGBT community. This mass killing, the worst mass shooting in United States history, is being reported on everywhere, including every major news outlet. Outrage is coming from so many, starting at the top with the President calling it what it is — an act of violence against the LGBT community, and he will not stand for it.

We at The Trevor Project know one person can make a difference and today we are seeing so many people saying NO MORE. Reach out to The Trevor Project, you are not alone. We are here 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 and thetrevorproject.org.

Abbe Land

Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project


Trevor Celebrates National Social Workers’ Month

In celebration of the end of National Social Workers’ Month, we recognize four social workers on staff who help shape our crisis services and suicide prevention programs, as well as advocacy work.

David Bond, LCSW, B.C.E.T.S., and Vice President of Programs

What David W. Bond loves about social work is that he has played so many diverse roles in the field, from providing trauma therapy to over 800 children and families on a micro level, to shaping a health program for incarcerated youth on a mezzo level, and working on research at Trevor that could potentially change suicide prevention techniques on a national, macro level. “Social work allows us to blend direct practice with policy and research so that we can impact the psychosocial development of people in society as a whole,” David says.

Through a partnership with USC and Jeremy Goldbach, PhD, David is leading Trevor’s initiative of an immediate and long term evaluation of Trevor’s crisis services programs to help us grow and develop our impact. “Our research will help guide our peers in the mental health community about the best ways to serve LGBTQ youth,” David says.

Ashby Dodge, LCSW and Clinical Director

Ashby Dodge is a licensed clinical social worker, a wife, a mother, and a mentor – driven by the values of integrity and leadership.  With a private practice in NYC that focuses on couples/family therapy, young professionals, LGBTQ issues, sexual assault survivors, and substance abuse, Ashby’s clinical style is largely strengths-based, helping people find positive and practical solutions to any number of life stressors and problematic relationships. On March 18, 2016, she was awarded the Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry Humanitarian Alumni Award from her alma mater, Longwood University, for her commitment and selfless dedication to service, which has improved the welfare of the LGBTQ community.

“Social work has always been about connection for me.  Researcher and storyteller Brene Brown defines connection as ‘the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.’ I never want someone to feel alone, that their life is not worth living; to feel that fear inside that they – this beautiful unique creation – are not enough,” she says. As Clinical Director at The Trevor Project, she leads our life-affirming crisis services team so we can continue to be that one supportive place to which young people can turn.

Taryn Crosby, LMSW and Crisis Services Manager

Crisis Services Manager Taryn Crosby is a sex educator, social worker, and fellow at the Kull Initiative for Psychotherapy, where she provides affordable and comprehensive therapy for individuals, groups, and couples. Her goal at Trevor is to develop the ways in which we serve marginalized groups, including immigrants, transgender youth, and people of color. “Social work helps me understand a whole person through the context of their families, communities, schools, religions, economic backgrounds, and races. Through our USC research project, we’re hoping to understand more about the people we’re serving in our crisis services programs so that we can provide them with the resources that will best suit their needs,” she says.

Amy Loudermilk, MSW and Associate Director of Government Affairs

Since 2015, Amy Loudermilk has been working with the Washington, DC City Council on the first bill in the nation that would require suicide prevention training in schools, specifically addressing the needs of LGBTQ youth. Now, the bill will be voted into law in March.

Amy has also been instrumental in banning the harmful practice of conversion therapy in several states across America. Her goal in 2016 is to help make sure that the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act is passed so that vital funding for suicide prevention and intervention services remains available across states, tribes, and schools. “More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. Four out of five young people with a diagnosable mental health condition do not receive treatment. LGB youth are four times more likely and questioning youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, while nearly half of transgender youth have seriously considered attempting suicide. We can do better for young people who should be receiving treatment, but are not being diagnosed, do not have access to mental health professionals, or who face stigma and shame that keep their mental health challenges from being addressed,” she says.

We thank the social workers on Trevor’s staff who are paving a brighter future for LGBTQ youth. With their dedication and unconditional support, we can continue to save young lives, 24/7.


The Lifeguard Workshop: Trevor’s New Online Education Resource

At The Trevor Project, we know one supportive person can make a difference in an LGBTQ young person’s life. We also know that it can sometimes be difficult to have conversations about mental health, suicide prevention, and LGBTQ identity in the classroom. That’s why we are launching a new online educational resource—The Lifeguard Workshop—to help teachers, mental health professionals, social workers, administrators, PTAs, GSAs, and faith groups share lifesaving programs with youth in their communities. With this resource, we are showing youth they are not alone and it is brave to ask for help.

We have heard so many stories about teachers and counselors who have made young people feel safe and accepted.  For example, one 15-year-old trans person in California told us:

“My Spanish teacher had a little sticker on her desk that said that her classroom was a safe space for LGBT students. I decided that I would come out to her because I really wanted to have someone to talk to about school and being trans. She supported me and told me that she was happy for me…She automatically changed pronouns for me in class, and she was always available for me to talk.”

Based on The Trevor Project’s in-person workshop, which is listed in the SPRC/AFSP Best Practice Registry for Suicide Prevention, we’ve designed The Lifeguard Workshop to include a video, Safer Spaces Guide, and empathy building lessons for middle school and high school aged youth. The Lifeguard Workshop teaches youth how to identify the challenges faced by LGBTQ people, recognize the warning signs of suicide, and respond to someone who may be in crisis. TheTrevorProject.org/Lifeguard also provides information on The Trevor Project’s crisis intervention services, like our 24/7 Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, TrevorChat and TrevorText, and our online community, TrevorSpace.org.

To celebrate the launch of The Lifeguard Workshop, we’ve designed a classroom poster and other educational resources you can order here. Since these are new resources, please take a moment to provide us with your feedback by completing a Teacher Survey after using them in your classroom.  And, if you’d like to bring The Trevor Project’s staff to your school district, you can sign up for Care and Ally Training.

We launched our resources at Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive Conference in February, where we joined 45 national organizations dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ young people and presented workshops on how to educate young people and youth-serving professionals on LGTBQ-competent suicide prevention, risk detection, and response. Transgender activist and children’s book author Jazz Jennings joined in supporting our efforts, with a shout-out on Twitter to her over 43.7K followers.

From March 9-12, Trevor will be at the American Association of Social Workers Conference in Baltimore, and from March 18-20, we will be in North Carolina at the LGBT in the South Conference to present The Lifeguard Workshop live, joining educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices, and gather resources from leading experts in the field. And, in the summer, watch out for our Summer Reading List on our Pinterest page to further your support of LGBTQ youth when the school season ends.

To help make it easier for schools to prevent, assess, intervene in, and respond to suicidal behavior, The Trevor Project has also collaborated to create a Model School District Policy for Suicide Prevention. This modular, adaptable document will help educators and school administrators implement comprehensive suicide prevention policies in communities nationwide. The fact sheet and full policy can be downloaded here.

Youth-serving professionals can also join our Senior Education Manager, Danielle Orner, for a monthly informational webinar which will explore how to facilitate a Lifeguard Workshop, address tough questions, and make classrooms safer spaces. For more information, you can contact her at [email protected]t.org.

With education, we can help prevent suicide. Thank you to the educators and leaders who are sharing lifesaving resources with youth in their communities. You are making a difference!

Photo one features Executive Director and CEO Abbe Land, along with our Senior Education Manager, Danielle Orner, and Vice President of Programs, David Bond, holding our new educational posters.  Photo two features TrevorLIVE Youth Innovator, trans activist, and children’s book author Jazz Jennings.


The Trevor Project Commemorates Human Rights Day

Today is #HumanRightsDay, a time for people to help build a world where LGBTQ people are embraced in every community. All should have the right to feel safe living as their authentic selves. Like always, we create that safe space for youth by having counselors on call 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, TrevorChat.org, and TrevorSpace.org. But, we are also fighting for the mental health rights of the community so that they will have brighter futures moving forward.

Through our advocacy efforts, we’ve helped get conversion therapy banned in Illinois and Oregon, and in Burbank, we’re implementing a school suicide prevention policy. We’re also fighting to get mental health services funded across states, tribes, and universities through the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. By next year, we hope all these advocacy efforts become realities on a nation-wide level.

Help us in this fight for human rights at thetrevorproject.org/advocacy.


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.


Spring Fling Brings in Huge Crowd

Spring FlingNextGen New York’s Spring Fling was the group’s largest event ever, with over 650 guests in attendance! The evening took place at The Park, where guest performances included: Erich Bergen (JERSEY BOYS, Madam Secretary), Natalie Douglas (award-winning singer), Isabelle (American Idol), Aiden Leslie (top-charting performer), The Big Apple Corps (award-winning marching band), as well as ToUch Performance Art, DJ Anomaly Code, and DJ Vito Fun. Special thanks the NextGen committee members, and to Absolut for powering the event as well as their new three-year sponsorship of Trevor NextGen.

In between experiences, guests took pictures in the Absolut photo booth, walked through the event’s signature silent auction, and participated in the Spring Fling raffle. Attendees also enjoyed a hosted bar by Absolut, Hot Rabbit, Boodles Gin, Dobel, Kraken Rum, Tincup, and Friexenet, and passed hors d’oeuvres.

If you weren’t able to attend Spring Fling this year, you won’t want to miss The Trevor Project’s upcoming events!

May 1 – A Night Out for Trevor: Washington D.C.
Presented by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
Featuring Alex Newell (Glee)

June 15 – TrevorLIVE New York
Presented by Wells Fargo
Honoring Sir Ian McKellan, Ryan Fecteau, and Johnson & Johnson

To learn more about NextGen New York and stay in-the-know, follow them on Facebook!


New Youth Advisory Council Meets in NYC

This past weekend, the new Youth Advisory Council (YAC) met in New York for their annual leadership summit. During this pivotal time, new and returning members took time to bond, share common goals, brainstorm ideas for the future, and create lasting relationships that carry on far after their tenure with the YAC.

During the Summit, members spanning in age from 16 to 24 focused on many key topics, such as learning about Trevor’s programs, discussing advocacy initiatives, understanding how to share their stories, exploring ways to reduce suicide risks, and expanding their knowledge of LGBTQ youth.

This year, the YAC Summit would not have been possible if it weren’t for the support and generosity of Trevor’s co-founder, James Lecesne. James helped fundraise to ensure that everything was covered for this crucial conference – thank you so much, James!

In between official council business, Trevor’s staff took the youth to several iconic places, including The Stonewall Inn, The Village, Times Square, and a ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty. The members even got to see James Lecesne in his new show, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. It was certainly a packed weekend that none of us will forget!

Now, for the first time, please help us welcome the following new YAC members! And of course, let us also celebrate the former members who have helped make this council a critical part of The Trevor Project’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ youth.

Marisol Cervantes, 20
Caldwell, ID

Pat Cordova-Goff, 19
Azusa, CA

Cody Courtney, 20
Ellisville, MS

Dannie Dobbins, 19
Bloomington, IN

Rachel Epperly, 20
Clifton, ME

Eli Erlick, 19
Claremont, CA

Amelia, 17
Wisconsin

Kegan Jones, 18
Marblehead, MA

Charlie Kerr, 22
Brooklyn, NY

Neeta Lachmandas, 16
Escondido, CA

Detrick Manning, 17
Baltimore, MD

Sabina Mendoza, 19
Provo, UT

Conner Mertens, 20
Kennewick, WA

Jessica Milford, 22
Pocatello, ID

Dominic Ravina, 18
San Rafael, CA

Anna Talajkowski, 17
Castro Valley, CA

Naijasia Thomas, 18
Galloway, NJ

Tom Woermer, 21
Washington, DC

Matthew Yeung, 17
San Ramon, CA

Appearance in Photo (L to R):

Back Row: Conner Mertens, Tom Woermer, Pat Cordova-Goff, Andy Talajkowski, Charlie Kerr, Dannie Dobbins — Middle Row: Cody Courtney, Matthew Yeung, Marisol Cervantes, Kegan Jones, Dominic Ravina, Eli Erlick, Detrick Manning — Front Row: Amelia, Neeta Lachmandas, Sabina Mendoza, Naijasia Thomas, Jess Milford