Support the Trevor Project as a Counselor
Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience to become counselors for the Trevor Project regularly.
Central Idea: LGBTIQ youth have a suicide epidemic. Action is necessary, and having someone to talk to has been shown to reduce rates of self-harm and depression. The Trevor Project, with its ability to connect at-risk youth with counselors, provides a path towards being part of the solution.
Attention Getter: A grim fact: suicide is one of the leading causes of death in America. According to the NIH, 4.8% of adults age 18 and older had serious thoughts about suicide in 2021. Meanwhile, in that same period, as reported by USA Today, a staggering 45% of LGBTIQ youth considered attempting suicide.
Credibility Statement: As an LGBTIQ individual who works in advocacy and helps mod discussion forums and counsel queer youth, I have a true passion for this work and am aware of the need.
Preview: There is a uniquely disproportionate amount of suicide ideation among LGBTIQ youth. These problems are pervasive families and society can contribute. One offering of the Trevor Project is the ability to reach an individual is putting them in contact who is cleared to communicate with gay youth. It has been reported on the Project’s website that interaction can reduce suicide attempts by 40%. The Project responds to calls, chats, and texts. I seek to persuade others to become counselors, which will directly assist the Project’s mission of tackling the problem of suicidal ideation among LGBTIQ youth.
Transition to body: Understanding that LGBTIQ individuals have a significantly higher rate of suicide ideation as compared to the general population.
BODY I. A disproportionate amount of LGBTIQ youth consider and attempt suicide as compared to the general population. People should care because, with such a high rate of suicide ideation and suicide attempts, many individuals’ lives are needlessly harmed.
A. Many LGBTIQ youth face struggles when living with a family that does not accept their queer identity, McDaid and O’Connor state in the journal Social Science & Medicine. They need to find ways to express this side of themselves, yet at the same time sufficiently conceal it, or even outright hide it, so as to minimize conflict.
Neighmond points out in the NPR article “Home but not safe, some LGBTQ young people face rejection from families in lockdown,” conflicts were exacerbated for many during the pandemic lockdown when, after finding freedom to express themselves while living in college dorms, they had to return home for extended periods and not all relatives were accepting.
B. When influential forces in society brand LGBTIQ people as different and objectionable, in contrast to desired norms of gender conformity, suicidal ideations and attempts can be a response to the resultant stigma and oppression, according to McDaid and O’Connor in the journal Social Science & Medicine.
C. The World Health Organization reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds. The National Institutes of Health stated that “4.8% of adults aged 18 and older in the United States had serious thoughts about suicide in 2021.” That is one in every twenty adults. At the same time, 2.7% of young adults, age 18 to 25 years, actually attempted suicide – the highest percentage for any age group. The statistics rise dramatically, however, when looking at LGBTIQ teens. In February, USA Today, citing a CDC study, reported persistent feelings of sadness in 69% of teens, with 45% having considered attempting suicide. Further, 37% said they had planned how to commit suicide and 22% said they had in fact attempted suicide.
Transition to Main Point II: Acknowledging LGBTIQ youth have a mental health epidemic, it is important to support organizations that seek to combat this trend.
II. Actively supporting LGBTIQ youth reduces rates of suicidal ideation and suicide.
A. The Trevor Project has already built the network and awareness in the population to help this need. The Project is a major provider of crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTIQ youth. The website is available with information and support any time of the day.
B. Charity Watch, an independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations, has assigned the Trevor Project an A- rating, making it a top-rated charity. It reports that the Trevor Project uses more than 76% of its finances for direct help to clients in its mission and beats the benchmarks for good governance and transparency.
C. The Trevor Project website communicates the process for people to onboard as available counselors. It also notes that it has a large need for volunteers in the chat/text digital program as the communication service of choice for most youth.
D. The Trevor Project website notes, “Acceptance from at least one adult can decrease the risk of LGBTQ youth attempting suicide by 40%.” According to the site, volunteers have answered more than 200,000 calls, chats, and texts during the past year.
CONCLUSION Transition to Conclusion: After having established that there is a unique mental health strain on the LGBTIQ community’s youth, moral individuals naturally would want to assist.
Summary: The Trevor Project is one organization already focused on the task of suicide prevention and mental health wellness for LGBTIQ youth. The Trevor Project estimates more than 1.8 million LGBTIQ youth are seriously considering suicide this year. Through crisis services and peer support as a counselor, you can directly combat this atrocious situation. It is easy to get involved. All that is required: a passion for supporting LGBTIQ youth, being 18 years old, located in the United States, and committing some time every week. Currently their greatest need is for volunteers willing to man the chat/text/digital program, because the youth are more likely to reach out digitally than through legacy methods, such as phone and email.
For young LGBTQ LIVES. The Trevor Project. (2023, November 20).
Marzetti, H., McDaid, L., & O’Connor, R. (2022). “Am I really alive?”: Understanding the role of homophobia, Biphobia and transphobia in young LGBT+ People’s suicidal distress. Social Science & Medicine, 298, 114860.
Neighmond, P. (2020, May 17). Home but not safe, some LGBTQ young people face rejection from families in lockdown. NPR.
Petras, G., Loehrke, J., & Bravo, V. (2023, February 24). Girls, LGBQ+ Teens at higher risk for depression, CDC Mental Health Report says. USA Today. Suicide.
World Health Organization. (2023, August 28).
Trevor Project. CharityWatch. (n.d.).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Suicide. National Institute of Mental Health.