The Trevor Project Says: “Talk to Me” For National Suicide Prevention Week

[ Feature image via San Diego Gay and Lesbian News ]

Suicide prevention is a topic that is very close to my heart, not only because of the recent epidemic of LGBT teen suicides, but also because I lost a high school friend to suicide in my freshman year of college. It still haunts me today. Death is always sad, especially in youth, but when it’s a suicide, you can’t help but stress out over what you could have done to stop it. I had no idea she was any worse off than any of the other over-stressed kids who attended my high-pressure magnet high school, but after she died it was easy to look back and see that she took it worse than others. I don’t know why I didn’t see the signs when she was alive, and wish I could go back in time and talk to her more. I know it’s wrong for survivors to blame ourselves, but who can help it when a tragedy is preventable?

As suicide is the third leading cause of death in Americans ages 15-24, it is pretty important for young people to learn about suicide prevention. And this week, Sept. 4-10, is National Suicide Prevention Week, so there’s no better time to be talking about it than right now. That’s why The Trevor Project is launching a new campaign — “Talk to Me” — aimed at the friends and families of depressed LGBT teens. Check out the project’s video featuring Kevin McHale (Artie from Glee):

Even if you don’t know anyone who is suicidal, it’s important to be supportive of friends and family members who need to talk. Be supportive and don’t judge, the website recommends. Speaking as someone who has battled depression, one big thing that kept me from ever considering suicide or self-harm was that I knew I had people in my life who cared about me and who would be devastated if I hurt myself. Also, if you present yourself as a trusted, non-judgmental listener, you’re more likely to hear about it if your friends are considering suicide. And then you can do something about it.

Here is another video with advice for what to do to help people in crisis:

One important thing the video stresses is to make sure to take every suicide threat seriously. Even if s/he doesn’t have a specific plan, even if you’re pretty sure it’s just an off-hand comment, you should still do something about it. Earlier this summer, my little sister woke me up in a panic because one of her friends was talking about killing herself after a bad break-up. My sister wasn’t sure if it was a real threat; regardless, she and her other friends got the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on the phone. It turned out the friend was serious and she was able to get help. So you never know.

The website also has a pledge you can take as well as website badges and iron-ons to make t-shirts. (Yep, apparently iron-ons are still around!)

The Trevor Project’s hotline is 866-488-7386.
They also have a chat service at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat

Other Suicide Hotlines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US): 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-799-4889 (for the hearing-impaired)

National Hopeline Network (US): 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433

U.S. Hotlines by State

Canada Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 800-448-3000 or 800-448-1833 (hearing-impaired)

Canadian Hotlines by Province/Territory

Samaritans (UK and Ireland): 08457 90 90 90 (UK) and 1850 60 90 90 (Ireland)

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14

Lifeline New Zealand: 0800 543 354

SOS Amitié/SOS Help (France): 01 40 09 15 22 (French) and 01 46 21 46 46 (English)

TelefonSeelsorge (Germany): 0800 1110 111 and 0800 1110 222

Suicide Hotlines Around the World (More Here)

Rose is a 25-year-old Detroit native currently living in Austin, TX, where she is working on her Ph.D. in musicology. Besides Autostraddle, she works as a streaming reviewer for Anime News Network.

Rose has written 69 articles for us.

16 Comments

  1. I just recently did an interview on my own website about a girl who’s friend committed suicide after being bullied by her classmates and rejected by her parents in regards to her sexual orientation. It is so important that this is available to people to learn about non-judgemental personal talk therapy and personal friendship counseling so to speak. I don’t know how many times I relied on friends and family to talk me out of suicide over the last couple of years.

  2. I had a friend commit suicide in March and I have stayed awake many nights wondering if I could have said or did something to change his mind.
    …My little brother attempted suicide in 2009 because he was being bullied at school for being gay. He was not out to my family at the time. He had all of these dark thoughts going on inside of him and he didn’t say a word. Thankfully, his attempt was not successful, but when he finally started talking to us it made all the difference in the world. He’s happier now. I just wish my friend would have said… something.
    Needless to say this issue hits close to home.

  3. I remember clear as a bell the day a friend of mine came to my math class and told me that she had come to say goodbye. I didn’t quite understand what was going on until the guidance counselor found us and asked her if she had any more razor blades.

    I also remember our mutual friends saying, “Pfft, she’s done that before, she’s just looking for attention.” Perhaps, but we know now that she had some pretty serious psychological problems that were causing her to do this, and even if she didn’t intend to kill herself, she was doing herself harm.

    There is no shame in being compassionate. My friend is now a wife and mother and all-around wonderful human being. She needed the support of the people who loved her to become that person.

    • Yeah, I agree; even if you know a friend isn’t serious about a suicide threat, the fact that they’re playing around with those threats is still evidence of some serious issues. That’s why I’ll never understand why people dismiss it with “looking for attention.” Of course it is, it’s a cry for help!

  4. I hate the attention appeal. People want to kill themselves because they think there is no other option. And it is a shame that so many lgbt teens pull through with it. And then you have NARTH who tries to say research shows that LGBT teens who attend reparative Christian therapy aren’t more likely to commit suicide. All of this when there is peer reviewed research that says after reviewing 80 some articles on the topic of reparative therapy, people are more likely to commit suicide and the treatments are not successful!

  5. A former high school classmate committed suicide last week. I did not know, but apparently he had been relentlessly bullied for being gay since middle school. He was 21. I hadn’t heard from him in 5 years.

  6. Back in high school my depression became worse (especially after Katrina). When I did seek help from a counselor, my dad scolded me. He told me people would think I’m crazy and I would never find a job. I wish I would have known about the hotlines then. If my aunt hadn’t called on that one night, I would have attempted again.

    Sometimes it’s as simple as talking about it. Getting the weight off your heart. I advise any and everyone that needs to talk (even if you feel your problems don’t matter) to just call.

  7. I absolutely love this.
    I am already posting it everywhere I can. I am a graduate student in mental health counseling and my focus is on women’s issues and gender/sexual orientation. One of the most important things that I have seen time and time again that can help save a life is just being there for them, and even further knowing just what to do should someone you love threaten suicide.

    The second video does a beautiful job of presenting you with the “what to do” in an understandable, to the point way that is easy for everyone to access. We don’t even have to read it! Videos are wonderful because people are far more likely to watch short video than read a pamphlet. So please, let’s all re post this video everywhere we can.

    ——({*})——
    For Women.
    For the Love of Women.
    http://www.VulvaLoveLovely.com

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