Thank U.S. Surgeon General for Highlighting LGBTQ Issues in National Strategy for Suicide PreventionBy Hanna White
Target: U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
Goal: Give thanks for including a section specialized to LGBTQ issues in the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
Recently, an updated version of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention document was released, replacing the old version that had existed since 2001. Among other changes, this document takes the time to highlight some of the specific issues faced by LGBTQ people that cause them to be at a higher risk of suicide. The previous document only included LGB people in a short paragraph that mentioned them as a “special population at risk” without making mention of transgender people, identifying causes of suicide, or offering potential strategies to address the problem. However, this new version includes approximately two pages that specifically highlight the LGBTQ population as a group with increased suicide risk, making special mention of youth, examining possible reasons for this increased risk, and including strategies to prevent and reduce suicidal behavior in the LGBT population, as well as a list of online resources for LGBTQ people (youth especially) at risk of suicide and their allies.
Write to the co-authors of the report, U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, to thank them for this much-needed update. The support of professional authorities in highlighting unique LGBTQ health needs and ensuring government responsiveness to those needs cannot be overvalued.
Dear U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin and National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention,
I am writing to thank you for your hard work in ensuring that the newly released update to the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention included a section targeted to the specific needs of LGBT individuals. The previous strategy, released in 2001, included only a brief paragraph mentioning LGB people as a special population at risk, failing to offer any reasons for this, possible strategies for prevention, or mention of transgender individuals. The new report is more detailed, summarizing a great deal of research on the LGBT population (including mention of potential limits of the research), and including strategies for prevention and a short list of resources. This inclusion may go a long way towards ensuring that LGBT people and their allies and advocates across the country have the information and resources they need to prevent and reduce suicidal behavior.
Once again, thank you for your perseverance in this matter, and your dedication to the mental health of all individuals, LGBT or not. Your contributions in highlighting the unique health needs of the LGBT population, so that the government may rise to meet them, are invaluable.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flickr via Jason Pier