Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior, suicide attempts, and suicide. However, it is important to differentiate that being LGBTQ is not itself a risk factor for suicide, but that LGBTQ youth face many additional barriers due to cultural attitudes, marginalization, and lack of resources.
Numerous studies have shown that LGBTQ youth face discrimination, harassment, and stigma. The best way to keep LGBTQ youth safe is to offer them support and resources.
OASOS Offers Support
OASOS staff provide one-on-one interventions with LGBTQ youth who need support and/or a connection to a culturally competent mental health provider.
The foundation of OASOS groups is Sources of Strength, a best practice youth suicide prevention model that uses the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture. OASOS works to prevent:
- Substance abuse
OASOS supports middle schools and high schools in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts in starting, growing, and sustaining Gay/Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar clubs. Research shows that in schools that have had GSAs for three or more years:
- The odds of homophobic discrimination and suicidal thoughts are reduced by more than half among lesbian, gay, bisexual students compared to schools with no GSA.
- There were also significantly lower odds of sexual orientation discrimination for heterosexual students.
- Heterosexual boys were half as likely to attempt suicide as those in schools without GSAs.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please contact Colorado Crisis Support Services at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or call 911.