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LGBTQ youth at 3.5 higher risk for suicide

Posted at 9:03 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 22:03:47-04

WACO, Texas — Suicide is an uncomfortable topic, but one that's so important to talk about.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month and mental health experts hope it makes conversations easier to have.

"Not talking about it increases the stigma behind it, maybe prevents people from reaching out for help," Heart of Texas Counseling Center Therapist Aranza Torres said.

Suicide rates have been rising across the country since the start of the pandemic. Torres said the concerning trend also hits home.

"The state of Texas and McLennan County is on track as far as national rates of suicide," she said. "In the state of Texas, one person chooses to die by suicide every hour. Nationally, it's about 45,000 people who die by suicide every year."

While depression and suicidal thoughts can happen to anyone, there are a few groups at higher risk. That includes members of the LGBTQ community.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 45 percent of LGBTQ youth have suicidal thoughts and they are more than three times as likely to take their own life.

Sam Ames began working with The Trevor Project after seeing their community struggle for so long.

"It's not that LGBT youth are inherently prone to risks or mental health struggles, it is that they face relentless attacks and discrimination and reminders they are different," Ames said. "Especially right now. Especially in the political climate they are in right now."

The Trevor Project works to raise awareness of these struggles in that community and encourages people to support their loved ones.

"Just having one supportive adult in a youth LGBT person's life reduces their suicide risk by as much as 40 percent ... that is enormous," Ames said. "You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to say everything right. You just have to make sure the young people in your life know you love and support them."

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, help is just a phone call away. You can call or text the National Suicide Hotline at 988.