A webinar on the Prevention of LGBT Suicide and the Role of Health Professionals and Religious/Spiritual Advisors
Despite some improvements in public attitudes toward gay marriages and greater acceptance of homosexuality, disparities in suicide ideation and attempts between LGBT and heterosexual youth persist. New research indicates that few LGBT people sought help prior to attempting suicide and when LGBT people did seek help it was not effective in preventing suicide attempts. Further, counseling from a religious or spiritual advisor was associated with worse outcomes. Compared with individuals who did not seek help at all, those who sought help from a religious or spiritual advisor were more likely later to attempt suicide. Black LGBTs were also more likely than White or Latino LGBTs to seek treatment in religious or spiritual settings prior to a suicide attempt.
Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., Williams Senior Scholar of Public Policy, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
Abbe Land, Executive Director, The Trevor Project
Ann Haas, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Rev. Delman Coates, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church
Peter Goldblum, Ph.D., Professor, Director of the Center for LGBTQ Evidence-based Applied Research (CLEAR), Palo Alto University
Dr. Meyer will summarize recent research showing that, at least in the past, few LGBT people sought help prior to attempting suicide and when LGBT people did seek help it was not effective in preventing suicide attempts. Study respondents who sought mental health or medical treatment at some time prior to their suicide attempt (or, among those who did not attempt suicide, prior to the age when suicide might have been attempted) were as likely as respondents who did not seek any mental health treatment to have a suicide attempt or serious suicide attempt after this time. However, counseling from a religious or spiritual advisor was associated with worse outcomes. Compared with individuals who did not seek help at all, those who sought help from a religious or spiritual advisor were more likely later to attempt suicide.
Ms. Land will discuss the role of professionals and trained peer counselors in suicide prevention, especially related to LGBT youth. She will also describe preventive trainings, programs, and model policies offered by The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT and questioning young people ages 13-24.
Dr. Haas will discuss advances and challenges in research of prevention of suicide in LGBT populations.
Rev. Coates is Senior Pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD and President of the Black Church Center for Justice and Equality, committed to reclaiming the social justice tradition of the Black church. Rev. Coates believes in keeping the legacy of African American Christian activism and the responsibility of progressive faith leaders to further Christian love and American democracy. He will talk about why he believes it is important for African American pastors to dispel the myth the bible condemns homosexuality and the role of LGBT individuals in the Black church.
Dr. Goldblum is the co-editor of Youth Suicide and Bullying: Challenges and Strategies for Prevention and Intervention (forthcoming September 2014, Oxford University Press). Dr. Goldblum will discuss the four presentations and share from his own extensive experience as director of a clinic that specializes in working with LGBT people.