Groups work to prevent suicide among LGBTQ people

Groups work to prevent suicide among LGBTQ people. (ABC7)

For many, Capital Pride is a weekend to celebrate and have fun. But along with the celebration, many groups are participating that try to prevent suicide among LGBTQ people, particularly young people.

A 2015 CDC survey found that 15% of U.S. heterosexual high school students had seriously considered attempting suicide the year before they were surveyed. Among LGB high school students, that number jumped to 40%.

Even though Washington is considered a very accepting city, the numbers among high school students aren’t much better.

A 2017 DC Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 12% of heterosexual students had seriously considered committing suicide the year before, while 33% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning youth had.

"DC itself, it feels like a bubble, but the numbers are the same. That's why awareness needs to be widespread,” said Jorge Membreño, the director of youth housing with the organization SMYAL.

Membreño said you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to someone who you fear is considering committing suicide.

"I know people are scared to have that conversation, but as a therapist I tell all parents and all providers, lean into the conversation,” he said. “What I do as a therapist is I ask directly -- have you contemplated suicide, are you thinking about killing yourself, do you have a plan, do you have a motive?"

"I think that we haven't talked about it enough. And there is much more that we could do to raise awareness around suicide prevention in DC,” said David Mariner, executive director of The DC Center for the LGBT Community.

"LGBTQ folks face challenges like estrangement from your family, or bullying, or harassment, and those things can contribute to those feelings."

Mariner listed several warning signs.

"If someone has feelings of hopelessness. If someone is concerned about being a burden to you or to others. If you've noticed an increase in substance abuse or alcohol use, those are all things to take into consideration,” he said.

Mariner asked anyone considering suicide to call the LGBTQ Violence Response Hotline, available 24 hours a day at 202-888-7222.

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