World Suicide Prevention Day is September10th.
Being LGBT itself is not a risk factor for suicide, but the negative treatment that many LGBT teens endure can lead to suicidal feelings. LGBT teens whose parents accept them are healthier and will stay that way into adulthood.
The first major study of families of LGBT youth, The Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State, showed that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents growing up in families that did not accept them as gay were:
• 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide.
• 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression.
• 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs than kids whose families were more accepting.
Know the Warning Signs of Suicide.
• With cyberbullying of LGBT teens so prevalent, sometimes resulting in suicide, it’s helpful to memorize this acronym: Is Path Warm?
• I – Ideation or having a plan about suicide
• S- Substance Abuse
• P –Purposelessness
• A- Anxiety
• T- Trapped
• H- Hopelessness
• A- Anger
• R- Recklessness
• M- Mood Changes
The warning signs of acute risk:
• Threatening to hurt or kill himself/herself or talking of wanting to hurt or kill himself or herself .
• Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means, and/or
• Talk or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.
Preventive Measures Against Suicide
• Create a safe and accepting home environment.
• Call a mental health professional or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral if you see behavior changes in your LGBT child.
• If your child is acting in a way that is self-destructive, causing themselves physical harm or speaking actively about harming themselves or others, seek help immediately.
• U.S. Suicide Helplines:
• The Trevor Project Lifeline: 866-488-7386.
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.