September is suicide prevention month and Mississippi mental health advocates are working to combat suicides among LGBTQ youth. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer youth, want to be accepted.
My Brother's Keeper is the only non-profit organization in Mississippi, dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community. Kerry Johnson is a therapist. She counsels youth ages 14 to 20. According to the state department of mental health, young people in this population who are rejected by their family, are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who are not rejected.
"What I hear most is, I'm not asking my family to agree, but just to accept and love me," said Johnson.
Johnson says there are cases where they can help families heal. But more often than not she says families kick the young people of the house. Johnson says some turn to the streets looking for acceptance, others may try to commit suicide. A 1990's documentary depicts the life of a 13-year old boy named Trevor living at home who is gay. This is a portion of his suicide note.
"Dear Mom and Dad, I don't want you to think I haven't given this a lot of thought, but I have. I tried to cure myself but nothing worked," said Trevor.
Trevor took pills but survived. His story led to the creation of a national organization called The Trevor Project. Kevin Wong who is with the non-profit says they provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention training and education.
" Our co-founders founded the first 24/7 lifeline for LGBTQ that day and the phone hasn't stopped ringing since," said Wong.
Wong says calls come from every state. The suicide rate among LGBTQ youth in the state is unknown. But Mississippi ranks 3rd nationally for suicides among all youth 15 to 24.
The Trevor Project Hotline is: 1-866-488-7386 or 1-866-4-TREVOR. Text and chat are available. Visit: thetrevorproject.org