Suicide Prevention workshop provides resources for LGBTQ+ youth
SALISBURY, Md. – May is Mental Health Awareness Month and advocates are pushing to bring more resources to LGBTQ+ youth, as The Trevor Project reports those individuals are four times more likely to attempt suicide.
“When we lose one it feels like many,” Chesapeake Healthcare’s Stephanie Hewitt said.
That’s why advocates say they’re on a mission to save as many lives as possible. To do that, Salisbury PFLAG and True You Maryland hosted a Suicide Prevention Workshop Monday evening, focusing specifically on LGBTQ+ youth.
“LGBTQ issues, especially with youth, are so prevalent when it comes to trying to understand who we are,” Salisbury PFLAG’s Executive Director Mark DeLancey said. “With the stigma wrapped around that only heightens and deepens the conditions wrapped around suicide.”
The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that over 40% considered attempting suicide within the past year.
“It’s because of the stigma that’s attached to LGBT people, especially in small communities,” Hewitt said.”And then you add other factors of intersectionality that exist in our community being of different races, cultures, and ethnicities. They all can impact the stigma that exists in our community.”
Kathy Carpenter-Brown, who’s a transgender woman, says she knows the struggle of acceptance all too well with not having much of a support system as she was growing into the woman she is today. “If I had to tell my younger self something, I’d say stand up for yourself. You were right, don’t let others tell you that you were wrong.”
That’s why organizers say they hope initiatives like this open up the conversation allowing parents are guardians to start asking questions and let youth know it’s okay to say they need help because… “People care, love you, and care about you, and you matter. Your voice is so important,” Hewitt said.
Advocates say some of those preventative measures include the importance of making environments welcoming and safe and parents or guardians making sure youth have a strong social support system.
Some of those resources at the workshop include The Life Crisis Center in Salisbury.