Regardless of political or religious beliefs, hearts will break when we read the headlines that someone has taken his or her own life.
The concept is even harder to digest when that person took their life because of judgments made on their sexuality. Sometimes they simply succumb to a fear to express it. September marks Suicide Awareness Month and encourages us to take a look at the people who selflessly work not only now, but daily throughout the year to save these lives — Harry Potter is one of them.
The Trevor Project didn’t spring into action in 2010, when the news was rocked daily by reports of increasing LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) suicides among youth due to bullying. No, they sprang into action way before that. The organization and its volunteers have been a life-saving ear to those who need help since 1998. They have grown into one of the most available national lifelines in the world.
Here are more facts about The Trevor Project and what they do every day to not only keep hearts from breaking but to keep them beating.
What it is
The Trevor Project is a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and even those who just aren’t sure. It was founded in 1998 by the film creators of the Academy Award-winning short film TREVOR — the organization’s inspiration. The heartwarming film was a coming-of-age story about one of the most important aspects of growing up: learning to be yourself.
Its mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ youth. They aim to save lives through a 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, a digital community and the advocacy to create a safe and positive and supportive environment for everyone, regardless of orientation.
Who is involved
Well, everyone can be. The Trevor Project is largely made of highly qualified and professional staff, but they recruit hundreds of staff and volunteers for a diversified community.
Actor Daniel Radcliffe has had a hand in the organization. He brought The Trevor Project and issues to a brighter limelight with his involvement and beliefs that every young person has the right to feel good about themselves. The Trevor Project’s “Talk to Me” campaign hosted a live online discussion with the actor about raising awareness on the prevention of suicide. Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Kevin McHale and the band Fun are all faces that have also worked hard to raise support for The Trevor Project.
The awareness is evident.
The organization currently has more than 600 active volunteers, over 200 lifeline counselors and an astounding 35,000 Trevor Space members. More than 200,000 lifeline calls have been made since inception.
“I believe reaching out for help is the bravest thing a person can do,” Radcliffe announced in a Trevor Project PSA in February.
How it is making a difference
A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2008 found that gay, lesbian and bisexual young adults and teens are at the highest risk of attempting suicide. About 94 percent of LGBT youth have experienced some form of victimization, according to a study at Northwestern University published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Northwestern’s study highlights society’s responsibility to be more accepting and lessen the negative stigma associated with being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
The support of family and friends is the single most vital thing a person needs, regardless of sexual orientation. These support systems go away when a young person comes out, or worse, they isolate themselves from it from fear of judgment. The Trevor Project aims to be that support when these teens don’t feel they have it anymore. The Trevor Project values acceptance and firmly holds the belief that we all have the right to be treated like a human being. Period.
A little talking and listening can go a long way — especially when it comes to saving someone’s life.
Get involved: Suicide Prevention Month and beyond
In honor of Suicide Awareness Month, the Trevor Project is currently running the “Talk to Me” campaign. Anyone anywhere can get involved in a few simple steps that can make a huge difference and hey, at the very least a big smile.
The campaign involves people vowing to be a person that anyone can talk to when they need support. Supporters then write a sticky note to a friend telling them you are always there for them and leave it in a creative place. Visit The Trevor Project’s website for more details on the “Talk to Me” campaign and a variety of volunteer opportunities.