Wednesday, September 11, 2013

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10.

Rejected LGBT Persons Particularly Vulnerable to Suicide

Suicide is a growing public health crisis. There were more than 38,000 suicides in 2010 in the United States, an average of 105 daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is one suicide for every twenty-five attempted suicides.

Sobering Statistics from Family Acceptance Project

Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State, says her research shows that “common rejecting behavior such as trying to prevent LGBT youth from learning about their identity, not allowing them to have gay friends or not letting them participate in an LGBT youth group, for example, are related to a 9-times greater likelihood of attempted suicide.”

Did you know that:

  • ·      suicide rate for gay and lesbian youth is four times greater than for heterosexuals.
  • ·      Gays and lesbians between fifteen and twenty-four are up to three times more likely to report suicidal thoughts (ideation) and up to seven times more likely to report having attempted suicide than heterosexuals.

Suicide is Preventable!

For National Suicide Prevention Month, September, The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline, has a campaign called Trevor Talk To

The campaign makes it wise to offer help and be willing to connect a person with life-saving resources. Twenty national organizational partners representing leaders in mental health, education, suicide prevention, youth and LGBT communities are sharing the messages of Talk to Me.

The Three Steps To Take:
  • ·      Take the pledge at Talk To
  • ·      Ask for free video training for your child’s school aimed at grades 6-12.
  • ·      Contact your senator and representative so that prevention programs continue to be          federally funded.

Giving a depressed LGBT person an opportunity to open up and share their troubles can help alleviate their pain and open a path to solutions. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Denial: Suggestions to Combat It

Denial: Suggestions to Combat It
Your son or daughter just told you that he/she is gay. Shocked, you blurted out:
  • It must be a phase you’re going through!
  • You’re too young to know!
  •  How could you be?  You were just dating Sally!
  •  How can you be sure?
  • You’re too feminine/masculine to be gay.

Exclamations like these are common for parents who are taken by surprise. They smack of denial.  According to Jonathan Tobkes, M.D., a psychiatrist who sees many parents of LGB children in Manhattan, “denial is the most common defense reaction that a person will experience when first confirmed with information suggesting that a child may be gay.”

Heading Towards Acceptance

Ultimately, as a parent, you probably want to arrive at acceptance for your child’s sexual orientation.   By to do so, you have to face your denial head-on so it becomes less painful and you are able to face reality. By reexamining your expectations for your child, you become more sensitive to your son’s or daughter’s needs.

Ways to Rid Yourself of Denial

How do you do this?  Dr. Tobkes, who teaches and supervises psychiatry residents at the New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, suggests:
  1. ·      Try to find parents who’ve been through similar experiences and talk to them.
  2. ·      Reach out to supportive family members and/or friends who will be positive.
  3. ·      Try to overcome your misconceptions and stereotypes of GLBT person and replace with realistic models.
  4. ·      You may want to consult a therapist. Without knowing or understanding that you’re using denial, it’s hard to break down the defense and come to terms with the reality of the situation.
  5. ·      Join a community support group such as Parents of Lesbians & Gays.


The most important steps for working through your denial involve direct and honest conversation with your child and other family members. If you aren’t used to starting important conversations within your family, a therapist can help you by providing you with the appropriate language.