The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 22, 2014

Trevor Project returns to MSSU

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Trevor Project, a support organization for gay and lesbian youths, will bring its informational workshop to Missouri Southern State University for the second year in a row.

“They’re geared toward suicide prevention in the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) population,” said AmyKay Cole, faculty representative for the MSSU Equality Alliance, in a statement. “This part of the country has a great need for suicide prevention in that population. It may not be that we have more people in crisis but that there are fewer avenues for people to get help.”

The two-hour workshop will feature Beth Schroeder, a regional coordinator for the Trevor Project. She is expected to provide a basic understanding of the LGBTQ population, what their needs are and how to approach someone who might be struggling with desperation or thoughts of suicide.

“She will talk about what to say, what not to say, how to tell if they need more help and where to refer them should that be a need,” Cole said.

Admission is open to the public.

“We’re trying to represent the LGBTQ community and show support in any way we can to our members,” said Kristen Stacy, president of the MSSU Equality Alliance. “But this is a presentation for everybody, not just LGBTQ people. Anybody can help stop a suicide.”

The workshop is hosted by the MSSU Equality Alliance and Ozark Center, the behavioral health services branch of Freeman Health System. It is funded through a grant from the state Department of Mental Health.

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film “Trevor.”

The national organization offers crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths ages 13 to 24. In addition to operating a national 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, text-messaging system and social network platform, the organization also offers workshops and training for youth, adults and educators.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 10 to 24, according to the Trevor Project. Lesbian, gay and bisexual young people are four times more likely, and questioning youth three times more likely, to attempt suicide compared to their straight peers, the organization said.

Nearly half of young transgender people have considered taking their lives, the organization said, and one-fourth have reported making a suicide attempt.

Want to go?

THE SECOND ANNUAL Trevor Project workshop will be staged from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 29, in the Billingsly Student Center ballroom at Missouri Southern State University.

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