NEW YORK, N.Y./LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Trevor Project released “How to Save a Life,” a new national campaign that encourages supporters to apply to become volunteer crisis counselors for TrevorText and TrevorChat, the organization’s free and confidential text and web chat support services for LGBTQ youth. The campaign’s 30-second public service announcement features actor, artist and activist Jussie Smollett who is part of the “Empire” cast.
LGB youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and nearly half of all transgender adults have made a suicide attempt – most before the age of 25, Trevor stated. Each year project answers more than 68,000 calls, chats and texts, but estimates that more than 1.5 million LGBTQ youth experience suicidal thoughts and could benefit from its services. Volunteers who sign up through the “How to Save a Life” campaign will increase the organization’s capacity to serve more LGBTQ youth than ever before. The expansion is powered by AT&T’s $1 million commitment, the single largest in The Trevor Project’s 20-year history.
“More LGBTQ youth in crisis are reaching out to us than ever before — many over text and chat, two increasingly prevalent forms of communication for young people,” said Trevor CEO and Executive Director Amit Paley. “Just over the last year our youth text conversations have increased by 165 percent. Training more volunteer crisis counselors will help us connect even more young people with our life-affirming crisis services.”
“It’s heartbreaking to think of the amount of LGBTQ youth out there who feel hopeless and alone, or think they don’t have support,” said Smollett. “Just one supportive person can decrease an LGBTQ youth’s risk of suicide by 30 percent, and The Trevor Project is giving everyone the amazing opportunity to be that person. I can’t encourage you enough to apply — volunteering your time can literally save lives.”
Volunteers can use a computer and Internet to support LGBTQ youth from anywhere in the country. To become a volunteer, supporters can apply at TheTrevorProject.org/SaveALife. Successful candidates will complete a series of training courses that meet American Association of Suicidology accreditation guidelines and are designed to prepare volunteers to support LGBTQ youth in crisis.
AT&T’s commitment to The Trevor Project and other initiatives are the latest in its history of supporting the LGBTQ community. In 1975, AT&T was one of the very first American companies to prohibit discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation.