‘Viewpoints’ invites guest authors from outside of Wells Fargo to share an important perspective related to their work. Today, we welcome Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project.
Our story began in 1998, when HBO aired the Academy Award-winning short film “Trevor.” Introduced by Ellen DeGeneres, the film was broadcast alongside the launch of TrevorLifeline, the world’s first 24/7 national lifeline supporting LGBTQ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning — young people in need of crisis intervention. The first calls were answered that night.
Twenty-one years later, The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people. We served 68,000 calls, chats, and texts from LGBTQ youth in 2018, and we estimate that each year more than 1.5 million LGBTQ youth experience suicidal ideation and could benefit from our services.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people today. LGBTQ youth are over four times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide. And lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth from highly rejecting families are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than youth from accepting families. Up to 50% of all transgender people have made a suicide attempt — many before the age of 25.
We work to save these young lives by providing around-the-clock support through free and confidential suicide prevention and crisis intervention programs on platforms where young people spend their time: phone, chat, text, and soon-to-come integrations with social media platforms.
In fact, The Trevor Project’s chat and text crisis services are now 24/7 in order to better reach Generation Z, who we know are often more comfortable with text and chat services than with speaking on the phone. This expanded service was funded in part by the generous financial support of Wells Fargo.
We also run TrevorSpace.org — the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth — and invest in innovative research, advocacy, and education programs. We conduct regular evaluations and surveys to ensure our services reduce the risk of suicide and that we are aware of the mental health issues currently affecting LGBTQ youth. We educate adults who interact with youth, and we work at the local, state, and federal levels to advocate for legislation that protect the rights of LGBTQ people.
As you can see, there is still a lot of work to do. But as we celebrate WorldPride — the international event that will take place this month in New York City to help mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising — The Trevor Project team and our amazing volunteers remain as dedicated as ever. Together, we can create a world where LGBTQ young people know they are affirmed, they are loved, and they can be exactly who they are.
The Trevor Project has several ways to help with crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and other resources for LGBTQ youth and their allies.
- TrevorLifeline — A crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service, available 24/7, at 1-866-488-7386.
- TrevorText — Text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7.
- TrevorChat — Visit TheTrevorProject.org/Help. Available 24/7.
- TrevorSpace — An online international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ young people and their friends.
- Trevor Support Center — Where LGBTQ youth and allies can find answers to FAQs and explore resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and more.