This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, which aims to raise awareness about the growing risk of suicide in our country and across the world. Earlier this year, we were shocked by the news of two prominent American figures taking their own lives: Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. The news of their deaths spread widely across headlines and brought a country together in mourning. While tragic, however, the risk of suicide and severity of community concern in less visible, more marginalized populations in this country is in many ways the real headline.
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign released their 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report, a comprehensive look at the experiences and health of LGBTQ American youth. The report highlights that an alarming number of LGBTQ youth, especially those of color, struggle with severe levels of stress, isolation and depression, which all contribute to risk of suicide. And now, a recent report on a joint needs assessment initiative between Public Health Management Corporation, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, and the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, shows that depression, suicide and social isolation are the top three LGBTQ community concerns in the state of Pennsylvania.
In response to this alarming and life-threatening epidemic in LGBTQ youth, the Center for Family Intervention Science has been working to expand clinical, family-based services for transgender and gender diverse youth in the Philadelphia area. Originally a funded project through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this service has grown to involve more staff and students in the College, as well as more community-based organizations in the area that provide direct and comprehensive service with LGBTQ youth. Serving as a referral and research clinic, we provide attachment-based family therapy (ABFT) for youth and their families. This therapy is evidence-based and efficacious in reducing symptoms and severity of depression and suicidal ideation in LGBTQ youth. For a detailed case study on ABFT with an African American bisexual youth, please see the recent publication in the Journal of Family Psychotherapy, written by counseling and family therapy PhD candidate, Maliha Ibrahim.
For more information about these services, please contact the Director of the Center for Family Intervention Science, Guy Diamond, PhD or call the clinic line at (215) 571-3420. For more information about our ABFT training program, including upcoming workshops at Drexel University, please visit the ABFT training website.
If you know a family or LGBTQ-identified youth that is in crisis, please know that free, anonymous services are available 24/7 through the Trevor Project.
TrevorLifeLine: (866) 488-7386
TrevorText: (202) 304-1200