The Trevor Project announced on Thursday the extension of its partnership with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, reaffirming its commitment to providing specialized assistance to LGBTQ+ people who call 9-8-8.
According to a press release announcing the development, the collaboration underscores the organization’s dedication to inclusivity and improved access to essential mental health services.
Interim senior vice president of prevention at The Trevor Project, Kasey Suffredini, highlighted the impact of their collaboration with 988.
“The Trevor Project’s research indicates that 41 percent of LGBTQ young people seriously contemplated suicide in the past year, with more than half of those seeking mental health care unable to access it,” he said.
Supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this partnership has enabled The Trevor Project to reach more LGBTQ+ youth, according to the organization.
In its inaugural year of collaboration, The Trevor Project served an estimated 280,000 LGBTQ+ crisis contacts through their participation in 988, contributing to over 500,000 total communications attended to by counselors.
The history of bipartisan advocacy and legislative cooperation underscores the significance of this collaboration. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, enacted into law in October 2020, formally established 988 as a crisis lifeline. It marked the first unanimous passage of a bill through the U.S. Senate, explicitly including protections for the LGBTQ+ community. The Trevor Project’s leadership was involved in making sure services for LGBTQ+ youth were integrated into the law, recognizing the higher suicide risk within this demographic.
In June, the Trevor Project faced internal challenges when contracted crisis counselors expressed concerns about layoffs. Some counselors felt that the timing and communication surrounding these workforce reductions were inadequate.
Since the implementation of 988, The Trevor Project has collaborated with partners and policymakers, advocating for additional resources to expand access to LGBTQ+ youth-inclusive crisis care services and enhance the lifeline’s infrastructure.
In July 2022, The Trevor Project launched a pilot program to strengthen 988’s specialized services for LGBTQ+ youth. The success of this pilot led to The Trevor Project’s selection to join the nation’s inaugural LGBTQ+-specific crisis services subnetwork, consisting of seven centers aimed at extending reach and ensuring best-practice service reliability.
The Trevor Project’s estimations indicate that over 1.8 million LGBTQ+ young people aged 13-24 seriously contemplate suicide each year in the United States, with at least one suicide attempt occurring every 45 seconds. The 2023 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health underscores that 41 percent of LGBTQ+ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, with transgender, nonbinary, and people of color reporting even higher rates than their peers. Despite the pressing need for mental health care, 56 percent of those seeking it in the past year were unable to access it, including nearly 3 in 5 transgender and nonbinary young people.
As The Trevor Project marks another year of its partnership with 988, its commitment to providing support, care, and community for LGBTQ+ youth remains steadfast. In a world where these individuals face distinctive challenges, The Trevor Project continues to strive to create a safer and more supportive environment for LGBTQ+ youth in crisis.