PFLAG cares about you. If you are considering suicide, read this first
If you are feeling suicidal now, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take a few minutes. We do not want to talk you out of your bad feelings. We know what it is like to be in pain.
We can assume that you are here because you are troubled and considering ending your life. If it were possible, we would prefer to be there with you at this moment, to sit with you and talk, face to face and heart to heart. But since that is not possible, we will have to make do with this.
Well, you're still reading, and that's very good. We hope it means that you're at least a tiny bit unsure, somewhere deep inside, about whether or not you really will end your life. Being unsure about dying is okay and normal. It means that even while you want to die, at the same time some part of you still wants to live. So let's hang on to that.
"Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain."
That's all it's about. You are not a bad person, or crazy, or weak, or flawed because you feel suicidal. It doesn't even mean that you really want to die, it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. If someone piled weights on your shoulders, you would eventually collapse ... no matter how much you wanted to remain standing. (That's why it's useless for someone to tell you to "cheer up!" Of course you would, if you could.)
There are many kinds of pain that may lead to suicide. Whether or not the pain is bearable may differ from person to person. What might be bearable to someone else, may not be bearable to you. The point at which the pain becomes unbearable depends on what kinds of coping resources you have. Individuals vary greatly in their capacity to withstand pain.
When pain exceeds pain coping resources, suicidal feelings are the result. Suicide is neither wrong nor right; it is not a defect of character; it is morally neutral. It is simply an imbalance of pain versus coping resources.
You can survive suicidal feelings if you do either of two things:  find a way to reduce your pain, or  find a way to increase your coping resources. Both are possible.
1 People do get through this, even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now. Statistically, there is a very good chance that you are going to live. Hopefully, this information gives you some sense of hope.
2 Give yourself some distance. Say to yourself, "I will wait 24 hours before I do anything." Or a week. Remember that feelings and actions are two different things. Just because you feel like killing yourself, doesn't mean that you have to actually do it right this minute. Put some distance between your suicidal feelings and suicidal action. Even if it's just 24 hours. You have already done it for 5 minutes, just by visiting PFLAG. You can do it for another 5 minutes by continuing to read this article. Keep going, and realize that while you still feel suicidal, you are not, at this moment, acting on it. We are very encouraged by this. You can be, too.
3 Are you feeling down because you're young and gay, trans, intersex, queer, nonbinary? It will get better. In a short time you'll be an adult, and you can be free of this misery. Being who you are is great. Someday soon you will be in charge of our life. You will be able to make different choices that celebrate who you are. You deserve to hang on for that.
4 People often turn to suicide because they are seeking relief from pain. Remember that relief is a feeling. And you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you so desperately seek, if you are dead. And feelings change. Imagine a time when you felt so down, yet a week later, things felt different.
5 Some people will react badly to your suicidal feelings, either because they are frightened, or angry; they may actually increase your pain instead of helping you, despite their intentions, by saying or doing thoughtless things. You have to understand that their bad reactions are about their fears, not about you.
But there are people out there who can be with you in this horrible time, and will not judge you, or argue with you, or send you to a hospital, or try to talk you out of how badly you feel. They will simply care for you. Find one of them. Now. Use your 24 hours, or your week, and tell someone what's going on with you. It is okay to ask for help. The crisis lines listed below are there to help you. They can suggest support groups, therapist, helpers. Call them! They will help you come up with a plan.
6 And lastly, suicidal feelings are, in and of themselves, traumatic. After they subside, you need to continue caring for yourself. Therapy is a really good idea. So are the various self help groups available both in your community and on the Internet and various online services. The crisis lines can help you find support. Reach out to us through our Facebook page. We are not a 24/7 crisis line, but we can be part of your plan for finding resources. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to connect with you.
Now, while this page may have given you some small relief, the best coping resource we can give you is another human being to talk with. If you find someone who wants to listen, and tell them how you are feeling and how you got to this point, you will have increased your coping resources by one. Hopefully the first person you choose won't be the last. There are a lot of people out there who really want to hear from you. It's time to start looking around for one of them.
Now we'd like you to call someone.
Here are some helplines and other resources:
The Trevor Project Hotline
Link to The Trevor Project
PFLAG wants you here. We want you here!!!
Being young and LGBTQI+ can be a lonely and isolating experience.
Often we can suffer from enormous pressure to conform to a very narrow idea of what is "normal". Faced with being labeled a minority, the perceived impossibility of finding a love relationship, the difficulties of coming out, the false perceptions that gay+ people can't have families, that gay+ life is lonely, that your identity doesn't even fit with the "gay"+ identity, that gay+ people must live with AIDS, it's no wonder things feel hopeless.
Whether in or out of the closet, this pressure can be overwhelming. When we can't conform we are forced to keep secrets, tell lies, and feel inferior to peers. This leads to isolation and, unfortunately, depression. For some, depression becomes so great they believe suicide is the only option. A 1989 study on youth suicide commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that at least a third of all successful teen suicide is by gay+ teenagers.
That number is probably significantly higher because shame often buries the actual reasons for suicide in studies involving teens. Nonetheless, at that rate, a gay+ teenager commits successful suicide every 5 hours and 48 minutes.
But suicide is never the only option. Things are rough for everyone at various points in life. That may not seem very uplifting a fact, but you should realize you're not alone. There are people waiting around, just to love you, in future years.
The fact is you will survive. And I know that because I did. I never would have imagined, 6 years ago, in the (sorry for the drama here) depths of despair, that I would be writing these words today, in the PFLAG office. My experience surviving young gay teen life wasn't the worst it could have been. But the fact remains, for some time I had no hope in spite of all the wonderful and loving things and people in my life. They were all there. I just didn't really know it. They loved me. I just didn't love myself.
But, I made it. You can too. Life is hard sometimes. It's not fair that queer teens have to survive an interminable amount of crap, but today more than ever it is possible to make it through. Life always seems to get better the more you cope and learn from hardship. Get help if you need it. Talk to someone.
Trevor Talkline for suicidal gay youth
1 866 488-7386
The Trevor Talkline
The Trevor Talkline was established in August of 1998 and is a suicide talkline for gay/lesbian/questioning youth. It's free and no evidence that you made the call will show up on the phone bill. Confidentiality is a top priority. The counselors at the talk line are trained to deal with any kind of crisis. All are trained in gay+/confused/questioning and coming out issues; all are non judgmental; they will not make any judgments on you regardless of how you identify your sexuality and/or gender, even if you can't identify it. According to Mary Graber, a crisis counselor who works at the talkline, here is what happens when someone calls:
The first thing the counselor does is ask questions in order to understand how high a risk of suicide there is. They ask questions like "Do you feel like killing yourself?" and, if so, they will ask, "Have you ever made an attempt before at killing yourself?" Usually someone who has made a previous attempt is at higher risk. They will also ask "Do you have a plan of how to kill yourself?" Usually someone who has a plan about how they are going to kill themselves is at an even higher risk.
The counselor will ask questions that try to get at why you are feeling like killing yourself. Some reasons are:
Depending on the way things go, Mary and the other counselors then give the appropriate referrals. Usually they do this by asking your zip code and then they give you a list of contact numbers of people you can trust to help you. Sometimes this is a crisis center, sometimes it's PFLAG, or other groups that might be helpful.
Mary said that anyone is welcome to call the Trevor Talkline, even if you just need someone to talk to and aren't feeling suicidal. Maybe you want to call the talkline with one of your friends present, that's OK too. The key is there's someone there for you and things will be much better when you call. Talking to someone makes all the difference in the world.