The LGBTQ+ community is diverse and made up of different experiences, identities, and challenges. However, members of the community are disproportionately at-risk for suicide and other mental health struggles. This section has information and resources for yourself and to help support loved ones who identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
How To Take Care Of Yourself
If you’re struggling, you can call or chat with the Lifeline. We’re available 24/7 and confidential. There are crisis counselors available to listen and support you without judgment.
Know you are not alone. In addition to the Lifeline, there are resources at the bottom of this page where you can connect with other members of the LGBTQ+ community. You can also check out the stories of hope and recovery below in the resources section to learn how some LGBTQ+ people have coped during hard times.
Build a support network. Develop a support network in your life that will help keep you safe and that you can lean on if you feel depressed or suicidal.
Talk to someone. Don’t keep thoughts of suicide to yourself. Lean on your support network, find a therapist or a support group, or get in touch with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Make a safety plan. Have a step-by-step plan ready for if/when you feel depressed, suicidal, or in crisis, so you can start at step one and continue through the steps until you feel safe.
Build A Support Network
You don’t have to deal with crisis on your own. Those you choose to confide in can provide encouragement and help you through a crisis.
You are part of a larger whole, and you matter. You may feel less isolated when you’re connected more to others. Consider joining an interest group, volunteering, taking a class, or starting a new hobby.
Your Social Networks
Social media is a place to share how you’re feeling and hear the stories of others who have felt the same. Connecting to people through technology may help you remember that you are not alone, and you may find others with similar interests.
Whether your community is at work, school, church, or a club or a team, having a group of people who encourage help-seeking and support is one of the most important aspects of suicide prevention.
Your Circle Of Trust
Relationships with friends, family, and significant others built on trust and companionship are a protective factor against suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It’s important to find the people in your life that you can always confide in, feel comfortable around, and can contact at any time. Surround yourself with positive people who motivate you to be your best.
Use Your Support Network
Leaning on your support network can help you cope during difficult moments and is an important step in getting help and moving forward.
During difficult situations, it’s natural to shut down, but keeping your emotions bottled up makes it harder for your support network to help you. Reach out to people you trust who have the ability to be sympathetic and non-judgmental.
Keep an Open Mind
Keep in mind that the advice and support of others come from a good place. We may not necessarily agree with advice we’re given, but staying open-minded and receptive to outside perspectives and opinions can help strengthen your support network.
The people in your support network will stick with you through thick and thin, but it’s also important to remember that friendships and relationships are a two-way street. Express your appreciation for the love and support that these special people bring into your life.
Make A Safety Plan
A safety plan is designed to guide you through a crisis. As you continue through the steps, you can get help and feel safer. Keep your plan easily accessible in case you have thoughts of hurting yourself.
- Recognize your personal warning signs: What thoughts, images, moods, situations, and behaviors indicate to you that a crisis may be developing? Write these down in your own words.
- Use your own coping strategies: List things that you can do on your own to help you not act on urges to harm yourself.
- Socialize with others who may offer support as well as distraction from the crisis: List people and social settings that may help take your mind off of difficult thoughts or feelings.
- Contact family members or friends who may help to resolve a crisis: Make a list of people who are supportive and who you feel you can talk to when under stress.
- Contact mental health professionals or agencies: Make a list of names, numbers and/or locations of clinicians, local emergency rooms, and crisis hotlines. Put the Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, into your phone.
- Ensure your environment is safe: Have you thought of ways in which you might harm yourself? Work with a counselor to develop a plan to limit your access to these means.
How To Help
We all have a role in preventing suicide. Learn how to support and be an ally to your LGBTQ+ loved ones.
Be an ally. Publicly show your support for the LGBTQ+ community. Ensure that you are supporting loved ones by affirming their identity, using their pronouns, and being committed to providing a non-judgmental and safe space for all.
Know the facts. Over 80% of LGBTQ+ youth have been assaulted or threatened, and every instance of victimization in an LGBTQ+ person’s life more than doubles the likelihood of self-harming.
Ask and listen. Be an active part of your loved ones’ support systems and check in with them often. If they show any warning signs for suicide, be direct and ask. Tell them it’s OK to talk about suicidal feelings. Listen to their story without offering advice or judgment. For more guidance on steps you can take to help someone thinking of suicide, visit www.bethe1to.org.
Link them to resources and remember to take care of yourself. Collaborate with your loved one to get them any help they might need. If you’re not sure where to start, the Lifeline is always here to talk or chat, both for crisis intervention and to support allies.
Strong family bonds, safe schools and support from caring adults can all protect LGBTQ youth from depression and suicidality (Committee on Adolescence 2013).
Family and community support. Support from family, trusted adults, and friends make all the difference for transgender children and youth. A recent study found that transgender children whose families affirmed their gender identity were as psychologically healthy as their non-transgender peers (Olson 2016).
Resources For LGBTQ+ People And Allies
- Planned Parenthood: Sexuality Info and Resources
- GLAAD: An Ally’s Guide to Terminology
- It Gets Better project: Hope for LGBTQ Youth
- Trevor Project
- Trans Lifeline
- Mental Health and the LGBTQ Community Stats (HRC)
- LGBTQ and All