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Trevor Project warns of mental health crisis among LGBTQ youth

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Posted at 10:55 AM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-10 12:55:10-05

YPSILANTI, Mich. (WXYZ) — Suicide is a crisis that touches every town, city and state.

The Trevor Project estimates 1.8 million LGBTQ youth nationally consider suicide each year.

For Troy Stevenson, senior campaign manager for advocacy and student affairs at the Trevor Project, the work is personal.

"I first started to come out and met my first boyfriend, and we were holding hands behind the school. The football team came out. We got chased away. This was the late 90s. I ended up on the phone with him that evening and couldn’t console him," said Stevenson.

"The next day I found out he had completed suicide the night before," Stevenson added.

It is a story that is all too common across the nation. the organization notes many LGBTQ youth don't have access to mental health care.

Therapist Josh Currie says it's not just about finances.

"If parents or trusted family members are not consenting for you to get help because they don’t believe it or want some kind of conversion therapy, you have a hard time having even one person in your corner," Currie revealed.

The Trevor Project found a high percentage of LGBTQ youth do not experience high levels of support from their families.

"I don’t know that many things are black and white, but in this case, it is a matter of life and death," Currie said.

Kristin Dews, a therapist at Ozone House, which serves homeless youth in Ypsilanti, Michigan, says 40% of the children there identify as LGBTQ+. Many of them are also from other marginalized groups.

"The intersectionality of being gay and a person of color makes it twice as difficult," Dews said.

The message from advocates is that there is help out there. People can reach out to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988.

The Trevor Project also has a helpline. People can call, chat or text with a crisis counselor.

This story was originally reported by Kim Russell on wxyz.com.