What is It?
Suicide Prevention Month helps promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention. National Suicide Day is September 10th and is intended for the public to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicide ideation (thinking about suicide and actually constructing a plan for it) to treatment and resources to prevent them from killing themselves.
NEW SELF-EVALUATION AND REFERRALS ON PHONE APP
On September 10th, there will be a suicide prevention telephone app. introduced. It will have a step-by-step suicide screening measure that will determine your risk level. After your risk level is determined, it will have a guided response plan that will lead you to geolocation services. These services will help locate the closest local resources and linkage to a 24/7 crisis hotline and text platforms. It will have a fully integrated safety plan too.
FACTS ABOUT SUICIDE
Suicide is the third largest cause of death among young people according to NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness. (4.6% of overall U.S. population has reported a suicide attempt.) According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and numerous studies, LGBT youth have a higher rate of suicide attempts than do heterosexual youth. In fact, between 10% and 20% of LGBT youth have attempted suicide. The suicide rate for transgenders is even higher (41%).
Associate Professor of Medical Sciences at N.W. University’s Feinberg School of Medicine Brian Mustanski did a survey of 246 Chicago-area sexual minority youths, ages 16 to 20 over a two-and-a-half year period. The youths were interviewed at five time points, six months apart.
His research study, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that respondents who experienced rejection by their family (e.g. family chose not to speak or spend time with them) and friends, or discrimination, victimization or violence had elevated prevalence of suicide attempts. Support from family and friends offer the most protection in preventing youths from thinking about suicide.
WHY LGBT PERSONS CONSIDER SUICIDE
The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, did a Suicide Report. It was a National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), conducted by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality. Released in PDF on January, 2014, the survey was spearheaded by Ann P. Haas, Ph.D., American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Its findings include:
• Discrimination, victimization or violence had elevated prevalence of suicide attempts.
• 57% of those with suicide attempts had families who chose not to speak/spend time with them.
• 50% -54% of those surveyed were harassed or bullied at school.
• 59% experienced discrimination or harassment.
• 60% were refused medical care by doctor or health care provider.
• 64% suffered physical or sexual violence at work.
• 63%-78% experienced harassment or physical violence at school.
• 69% experienced homelessness.
• 57%-61% were disrespected or harassed by law enforcement officers.
• 60-70% suffered physical or sexual violence by law enforcement officers.
What Parents Can Do
While you can’t control everything in your child’s life, you can control the love and respect you give your LGBT child. You can also look for signs of depression such as: loss of appetite and/or weight loss without trying to do so, inability to fall asleep for at least a week, feelings of extreme hopelessness and a sense of doom, inability to concentrate on work or family duties, feeling down or sad all the time, no longer finding enjoyment in things or activities that you previously enjoyed, thoughts of wishing you were dead and/or actual ideas of wanting to harm yourself and feeling consumed by intense worry or concern that bad things are going to happen to you or your family.
and get referrals for treatment. Know the suicide hotline numbers such as TREVOR Hotline: a 24-hr., toll-free, and confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth: http://www.thetrevorproject.org. 1-866-488-7386.
Take measures to ensure that your child is being bullied at school and have them ignore cyberbullies.
Take a Stigma-Free Pledge on NAMI’s website: http://www.nami-org/Get-Involved/Raise-Awareness/stigmaFree-Pledge
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.