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article imageTeen suicide rising, 4 times higher for gay youth

By Kim I. Hartman     May 21, 2010 in Lifestyle
West Hollywood - Many teenagers have thoughts of death. These can stem from a variety of causes, and can result in actual attempts on their own lives. The National Institute of Mental Health warn that 25 teen suicides are attempted for each one that is successful.
The Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, announced today the launch of a national public service announcement (PSA) targeted at LGBTQ youth. The PSA features Daniel Radcliffe, the star of the "Harry Potter" film series, Broadway's "Equus" and the upcoming revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds, and LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Those who come from a family who rejects their sexual orientation are up to nine times more likely to do so.
Many people overlook the problem of teen suicide. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that the number of teen suicides has been increasing in recent years. There are more pressures on teenagers than ever before, and many of them are having trouble coping with the demands that are placed on them. Another problem is that suicide is starting to take on a sort of dark glamour as some social networking Web sites feature suicide pacts among its members.
But, whatever the causes of teen suicide, it is important to note that the pressures on gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender teens can lead to suicide. The CDC reports that 60 percent of high school students claim that they have though about committing suicide, and around nine percent of them say that they have tried killing themselves at least once
"LGBTQ youth suicide is a preventable epidemic, and at The Trevor Project, we know that community education is the key to combating these devastating statistics," said Charles Robbins, executive director and CEO, The Trevor Project. "Because this PSA features Daniel Radcliffe, it has the incredible power to educate communities and spread the word to youth that help is always available and that it is okay to reach out for support."
Daniel Radcliffe has been involved with The Trevor Project since August 2009 and is a major contributor to the organization. "I believe that The Trevor Project has a universal mission of acceptance that is so profound," Radcliffe said. "If this brief PSA makes even one lost and alone young person aware of The Trevor Helpline and the support it offers, then it will have been an endeavor well worth making."
Experts say Suicide thoughts can never be kept a secret. If someone tells you that he or she is suicidal, and then tells you not to tell anyone, you must tell other people, and you must get help for the person immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE.
Some Facts About Suicide:
•In America, more than 32,000 people die by suicide each year (2005 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
•Suicide is one of the top three causes of death among 15 to 24-year-olds; only accidents and homicide occur more frequently (2006 National Adolescent Health Information).
•Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college campuses (2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
•For every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made (2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey).
•Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey).
•Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth who come from a rejecting family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (2007 San Francisco State University Chavez Center Institute).
Suicide Warning Signs include:
•A tendency toward isolation and social withdrawal
•Substance abuse
•Expression of negative attitudes toward self
•Expression of hopelessness or helplessness
•Loss of interest in usual activities
•Giving away valued possessions
•Expression of a lack of future orientation (i.e. "It won't matter soon anyway").
•For someone who has been very depressed, when that depression begins to lift, the individual may be at INCREASED risk of suicide, as the individual will have the psychological energy to follow-through on suicidal ideation.
If you or someone you care about is showing any of these signs, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone to speak with a trained counselor at The Trevor Helpline: 866.4.U.TREVOR (866.488.7386)
To learn more about The Trevor Project's programs and its work toward saving lives, building communities and changing society, visit TheTrevorProject.org.
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