Responding to Suicide Deaths: Reaching Out for Help, Advocating for Prevention

July 6, 2018

This week, the world has lost two icons to suicide death. The underlying causes of most suicide deaths are complex, and we will likely never know all of the reasons for any single death. There are many risk factors such as social isolation, depression, substance use, or anxiety, and other mental health issues, and we know that LGBTQ people face additional challenges such as family rejection, prejudice, harassment, and violence.

First and foremost, it’s okay to ask for help! If you or someone you know is battling depression or contemplating suicide, reach out.

We all have a responsibility to promote a culture that welcomes, accepts, and supports the well-being of LGBTQ people and all people. This includes advocating for policies and programs that can prevent suicide in our communities: access to affordable, high-quality, and affirming mental health care services; training of educators and community service providers to recognize risk signs and facilitate referrals (like that required by AB 2639); reducing stigma regarding mental health issues and suicide; and targeted prevention strategies also play an important role in reducing LGBTQ suicide risk— for example, social media policies that prohibit cyberbullying.

There are warning signs that can help you recognize when a loved one is struggling, such as talking about wanting to die or being a burden to others; acting anxious, agitated or reckless; withdrawing from others; and displaying extreme mood swings. You can support that person by listening and recognizing warning signs, and connecting them with resources such as the Trevor Lifeline, TrevorChat, and TrevorText, which responds to nearly 150 calls, chats, and text messages each day from young people throughout the country.

If you want to help us advocate for better access to LGBTQ-affirming suicide prevention services, join us and #Out4MentalHealth at the State Suicide Prevention Subcommittee Meeting next Wednesday, June 13, in San Diego. And then on Friday, you can attend the all-day Stronger Communities: LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention Conference in San Jose.

State Suicide Prevention Subcommittee Meeting
Wednesday, June 13
10 am – 2 pm
San Diego County Operations Center (COC) main conference/hearing room 5520
Overland Avenue, San Diego, CA

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Conference – Stronger Communities: LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention
Friday, June 15
8 am – 5 pm
San Jose Marriott
301 South Market St, San Jose, CA