Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Social media and news coverage of suspected suicide deaths of Mormon youth known or believed to be gay has resulted in an unprecedented discussion about suicide risk among Mormon lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Would you like to learn what you can do to help reduce risks of suicide in your community? This page provides ways to talk about suicide safely and effectively. There are resources for training in suicide prevention as well as resources for emergency assistance. Please take a look and consider what you can do to make your community safer.
— You can gain some insight into how a lesbian member of the Church experiences the conflicts between her faith and sexual orientation and how she has felt driven at times to consider taking her own life, as well as one simple thing you can do to help keep LGBT/SSA members safe by reading this MBB blog post entitled “Vulnerable LGBT Members: How You Can Help”.
— Some of the media coverage may – at times -oversimplify or sensationalize a number of the underlying issues, and in some cases may create the potential for suicide contagion risk. This guide “Talking About Suicide & LGBT Populations” provides ways to talk about suicide, while advancing vital public discussions about preventing suicide, helping increase acceptance of LGBT people, and supporting their well-being.
— Want to learn what you can do that is proven to be effective in reducing risks of suicide? LivingWorks collaborates with public and private organizations to empower communities with life-saving skills. They provide support by training local individuals and groups, ensuring an international standard of excellence, helping to develop effective strategies, and offering resources and workshop materials. They provide dependable, long-term assistance that helps communities build suicide-safety skills for many years to come. Consider signing up to take one of their many training courses in suicide prevention methods.
— In the state of Utah, you can access numerous training programs on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention with the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition.
— The SafeUT Crisis Text and Tip Line app provides 24/7 access to crisis counseling or tip reporting for youth in the state of Utah. After installing the app you can connect directly to the UNI CrisisLine or report a confidential tip on bullying, school threats of violence or concern about someone in crisis. CrisisLine staff can assist with a wide variety of problems, including emotional crisis, grief and loss, drug and alcohol problems, mental health issues, self-harm and suicidal behavior.
— You can also help organize Suicide Prevention and Awareness Out of the Darkness Community Walks in your neighborhood. MBB has participated in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Salt Lake City for the last few years.
— The Utah Commission on LGBT Suicide Awareness and Prevention is looking for volunteers to help create the first ever LGBT and LDS suicide data collection and tracking system. If you’d like to help out, leave a message on the Commission’s Facebook page.
LGBTQ/SSA Homeless Youth
Utah: If you are aware of a homeless LGBTQ/SSA youth under 18, Volunteers of America operates a homeless youth shelter in downtown Salt Lake City which also offers many programs and services to help youth get stabilized. Youth Futures is a youth shelter in Ogden and Vantage Point is a crisis shelter for homeless youth in Utah county. OUTreach Resources Centers and Continuum of Care are helpful options to reach out to. In Utah, you can also call Rachel Peterson at 801-686-4528 when there is a youth in need. You can also reach out to Operation Shine America does great boots-on-the-ground work with local LGBTQ homeless youth. They work particularly well with the most off-grid youth living in encampments outside urban areas.
Outside of Utah: Refer to the National Coalition for the Homeless directory of services across the United States.
A word of caution: while it’s a loving, humane impulse to want to take a youth into your own home, it is not legal, nor is it recommended. For youth over 18, it’s also complicated.
You can also check out your local Pride center or similar community support center. They always have needs for volunteers. You can also leave your name as a point-of-contact for LDS people who may come in looking for someone else who is LDS to help them. You never know when you might be a lifesaver to a person in despair.
A recent federal report found that over a quarter of American students from ages 12 to 18 were bullied during the school year. Also, about nine percent of students reported being called a hate-related word. LGBTQ students—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning—have a much higher chance of being verbally harassed and are far more likely to face other forms of bullying than the average student. In order to help prevent bullying of LGBTQ students, educators can use these six strategies to promote respect in their schools.
The Family Acceptance Project is a research-based information resource you can reference in your conversations with fellow family and congregation members, particularly with your LDS ecclesiastical leaders. If you would like a copy of their video “Families Are Forever” just send us a note on our Contact page and we’ll send you one (we ask that you pay the price of shipping).