The MSSU Equality Alliance and Ozark Center will host the second annual Trevor Project workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 29, in the Billingsly Student Center Ballroom at Missouri Southern State University.
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.
“They’re geared toward suicide prevention in the LGBTQ population,” said Dr. AmyKay Cole, faculty representative for the MSSU Equality Alliance. “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.”
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 24. Young people in the LGBTQ community are four times more likely to attempt suicide compared to their straight peers.
Beth Schroeder, a regional coordinator for the Trevor Project, will give those attending the presentation 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,” said Cole.
In addition to operating a 24/7 national suicide prevention hotline and online resources, the Trevor Project also offers workshops and training for youth, adults and educators.
The presentation at Missouri Southern is made possible through a grant from the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
“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.”