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Symposium on LGBT Suicide Prevention: A Call to Action
Founders Note to the QWOC+ Boston Community: I will be speaking at the breakout session, Creating Safe Spaces Across the LifeSpan, during the LGBT Suicide Prevention symposium, taking place THIS Saturday June 18th. If you’re familiar with the stats, then you know that LGBT youth of color are disproportionately impacted by suicide, and that my (other people of color) speaking at this event is important.
I wrote an article last Fall about my own experience in college, and have been speaking since then about the importance of our advocacy as adults when it comes to creating awareness around mental health, addressing bullying in schools, lack of diversity etc — all issues that can impact students who are at risk for attempting suicide. I plan to highlight some of the issues and questions I raised in this article during the symposium, along with other insights that have been shared with me from other young people. If you work with youth, have an experience from which you could contribute to the conversation yourself, are a parent, or simply someone who cares about this issue, I whole-heartedly encourage you to attend.
As people of color, it is our responsibility to figure out ways in which we can better support young people in creating safe spaces for them at school, at home, and in the world, so I do hope you’ll consider attending. There are scholarships available to attend if you cannot afford the registration fees. Do what you can to be there on Saturday, or at least forward this information on to your networks so we can maximize attendance.
The Greater Boston Chapter of AFSP has designed this program to place LGBT Suicide Prevention on the state and national agenda and provide a framework for actions aimed at reducing suicidal behavior in these populations. This call to action seeks to address gaps in knowledge and prevention.
*To register: http://www.afsp.org/lgbtsymposium
* Scholarships available – contact Melanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration begins at 12:00pm
Program from 1:00pm-6:00pm
Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director, Family Acceptance Project
Dr. Ryan co-developed the Family Acceptance Project to promote family support, decrease risk and improve well-being for LGBT youth.
Breakout Session Topics
- Creating Safe Spaces across the Lifespan
- Why Words Matter in Media and Social Media
- Making Mental Health an LGBT National Priority
- The Interface of Stigma, Psychiatric Vulnerability and Depression and
Coming out as LGBT
- Suicide Prevention in Transgender Communities
Following the symposium, please join us for a reception and dinner to celebrate the Boston Chapter’s 20th Anniversary.
Background and Genesis of the Symposium
Despite four decades of research pointing to elevated rates of suicide attempts among LGBT people, national suicide prevention initiatives, including the 2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, have given scant attention to suicide risk in sexual minority persons. AFSP convened a 2007 conference to assess the status of data on the issues and examine the targeted interventions, prevention strategies or public health polices needed to reduce risk in these populations. The subsequent report on suicide and suicide risk appeared in as the lead article in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Homosexuality and served as the impetus for the conference.