Know How to Help Prevent Suicide

Day-to-day living for LGBTQ people can be tough, especially if spending time with family and friends come with stressors such as hiding your sexuality, getting lectured on who you should or shouldn’t be, feeling disconnected from people, etc.

To deal with the stress, some withdraw emotionally or self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Either of these can be dangerous, not in the least because they can lead to isolation which can lead to suicidal thinking.

When we are struggling, we need to reach out for help. If you’re thinking about suicide, many times it’s not clear where to turn to since we don’t really talk about suicide openly in our culture. Some people don’t want to admit they’re thinking of suicide because they feel like others will think that they’re failures. We all experience times where life is overwhelming, stressful, and/or depressing, and it almost always helps to talk with somebody about how you are feeling. There are places you can contact that have well-trained people who know how to listen to your struggles and connect you to resources.

  • One of them is the Trevor Project which has a hotline (866-488-7386) for LGBTQ youth.
  • They also have “Trevor Space” which is an on-line social network like Facebook for LGBTQ youth and can be found at http://www.trevorspace.org/. Their goal is to help break the isolation and provide a safe space for youth to get support and meet others facing similar situations.
  • The national hotline for suicide prevention is called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Sometimes you may be doing well but you may have a friend or family member who is struggling.  It’s important to reach out and talk to the person you are concerned about, especially if you think you are seeing suicide warning signs. Because of our cultural taboo on the subject, most of us have been raised with the myth that talking about suicide will somehow make things worse or cause someone to consider suicide who hasn’t before. In reality, chances are the person has not talked to anyone about their thoughts, so it often comes as a huge relief to have someone ask directly and be willing to listen. Talking openly and directly about suicide often gives the person who is in distress “permission” to talk about suicide. It sends the message that you have noticed their distress, that you care, and that you want to help.

If someone you care about is thinking of suicide, your job is to accept their feelings and listen. Tell them you care about them, that you want them to live, and that you will help them find resources. Then you can pick up the phone and call The Trevor Project hotline (866-488-7386) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the staff will help you.  If you see someone on Facebook who is posting about suicide or giving up on life, you can fill out a report (type “suicide” into the “Help” page) and Facebook will contact the friend in distress and offer a hotline number or the option of “chatting” with a professional counselor via text.