All Voices Matter: Suicide Prevention Month


Provided by Sydney Bishop

In her revival of the weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Sydney Bishop offers her take on various social and cultural issues.

With September being Suicide Prevention Month, it’s placed on my heart to talk about how we need to do more to properly raise awareness to this real issue. We tend to dissociate ourselves from topics this heavy in nature, but the truth is people around us and in our communities do commit suicide. There are several risk factors that can lead a person to making this devastating choice, which is why we need to spread awareness effectively to targeted groups of people most vulnerable. 

The current Suicide Prevention message is too general. While anyone can be struggling with this ideation, there are clear patterns among certain demographics. According to the Trevor Project, LGBT youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth, and have attempted suicide at a rate 1.5-3 times higher. This rate is even higher amongst POC LGBT communities.

Young members of the LGBT community are forced to face a reality about themselves that will permanently alter their way of life. During this pressing time they are bound by the fear of being rejected by not only their peers, but their parents due to their sexuality. This is coupled with the typical amounts of teenage stress.

According to the Trevor Project, “Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.” The fact that “LGBT youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBT peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection,” increases the vulnerability of this demographic even more. 

It is important to also recognize the intersectionality of the matter. According to Am J public health, “the minority stress model depicts that the excess prejudice, stigma, and discrimination encountered by minority individuals lead to increased mental health problems in this population and a resulting increased risk of suicide.”

These facts prove the immediate need for target Suicide Prevention among LGBT and POC youth. This is an important step toward equity and the actual prevention of suicide among our youth. In order to serve justice to the month of September, a part of our message needs to be focused on these at-risk groups of people.

Students who need support or someone to talk to about issues or concerns about either their own, or a classmate’s mental health can reach out to their counselor through their website.