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The Trevor Project Fostering: Safe Schools Through Positive Relationships Kate McGravey, MA/CAGS School Psychologist Boston Public Schools, MA PsyD Student,

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Presentation on theme: "The Trevor Project Fostering: Safe Schools Through Positive Relationships Kate McGravey, MA/CAGS School Psychologist Boston Public Schools, MA PsyD Student,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Trevor Project Fostering: Safe Schools Through Positive Relationships Kate McGravey, MA/CAGS School Psychologist Boston Public Schools, MA PsyD Student, MSPP Jaclyn Kinsman, MA/CAGS School Psychologist Haverhill Public Schools, MA This presentation was financially supported in part by the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association.

2 What is The Trevor Project? The number one non-profit organization that works towards raising awareness of and ending LGBTQ suicide Programs include a helpline that teens can call if they need to talk to someone (THE TREVOR LIFELINE – 866-4-U-TREVOR [U.S. CALLS ONLY]) Dear Trevor is an online resource for LGBTQ teens who have questions about sexual orientation or gender identity. Trevorchat is a free online messaging system for teens who are not at-risk for suicide but who want a confidential place to chat. Its available on Fridays. The Trevor Lifeguard Workshop is a structured age-appropriate workshop that trained professionals can use to raise questions about sexual orientation and gender identity Download the Lifeguard Workshop Guide and learn more at programs

3 Trevor Space An online social networking community for LGBTQ youth and their allies This can be a great resource to share with LGBTQ youth in your schools! Feeling a sense of normalcy is important.

4 Why Focus on LGBTQ Youth? As a group, about 8.5% of all students in grades 9 through 12 will attempt suicide at least once (according to the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, YRBSS) Suicide is the 3 rd leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds (CDC, 2007; Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2009) Somewhere between 20 and 40% of gay teenagers attempt suicide. More than half of the LGBT youth who attempt suicide do so without coming out to an adult first (Li Kitts, 2005). LGBTQ youth are at least three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (The Trevor Project, n.d.).

5 Raising Awareness The Trevor Project works to raise awareness of youth suicide. Its important for youth to recognize the warning signs in their friends and family. Its also important for service providers to keep an eye out for warning signs and to understand the warning signs of suicide.

6 Risk Factors for the General Population Prior History of Suicide Attempts History of Suicide in the Family Emotional State Academic Issues Loss of a Loved One Homelessness Access to Fire Arms

7 What Makes LGBTQ Youth More Likely to Attempt Suicide? The Risk Factors: Many LGBTQ youth have a smaller support system. Some are left homeless after coming out to their parents, and many lose friends during the coming out process. Youth who have highly rejecting families are 8x more likely to commit suicide! (DAugelli, R., 2002) 70% of GLBT students report physical, sexual, or verbal abuse (2007 National School Climate Survey, GLSEN) 90% of GLBT students hear anti-gay comments regularly at school (2007 National School Climate Survey, GLSEN)

8 Other Risks Unique to the LGBTQ Population Coming out at a Young Age Gender non-conformity Developmental Issues (especially in the transsexual population)

9 Warning Signs of Suicide Having a plan and having the means to carry out the plan (i.e. access to a gun, access to pills, etc.) Signs of Depression Making Final Arrangements (i.e. giving things away) Increased Drug/Alcohol Use Increased Isolation Change in Regular Behavior

10 Now that we know what to look for… Lets start the workshop!

11 The Trevor Lifeguard Workshop Guide The Workshop that we are demonstrating is for High School students. The Trevor Project has workshops available for younger students as well. For the purpose of the presentation, it would help if you would all role play and act as high school students. Feel free to participate in any way that you feel comfortable. We will ask for comments and questions from the audience at various points throughout the presentation.

12 Introductions, Overview of the Trevor Project Kate McGravey – Works in K-12 schools in Boston, MA as a School Psychologist. Identifies as a Lesbian. Originally interested in LGBTQ population because of her own experience growing up in a homophobic family and community. Plans to do doctoral project on creating safe schools for LGBTQ youth. Jaclyn Kinsman – Jaclyn Kinsman works as a School Psychologist in Haverhill, MA. She currently works in an elementary and middle school where she in involved in LGBT support groups. She first became interested in the topic when several of her close friends came out in college. She will continue to pursue this interest area by way of support groups in school and presenting on related workshops. Brief description of The Trevor Project: Leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Saves lives through its free and confidential helpline, in-school workshops, educational materials, online resources, and advocacy. (

13 Creating a Safe Space This might be the first time that these students talk about suicide and/or LGBTQ issues and people. Create a safe where everybody feels free to share and express ideas. Stress confidentiality and respect.

14 Ice Breaker Activity The high school workshop offers two options: Gender Boxes & Top 10 Today, were going to do Top 10 because it requires less material and can be done right at your seats.

15 Top 10 Ask participants to write down the 10 most important things in their life (family, friends, iPod, TV, vision, music, pets, etc.). Have one or two participants discuss their list. Next, ask everyone to cross out 3 of the things that they can do without, if need be. Have one or two participants discuss what theyve crossed out and why. Next, ask everyone to cross out 3 more items, leaving only 4. Have one or two participants discuss their feelings surrounding the exercise so far. Next, ask everyone to cross out 3 more items, leaving only 1. Explain that they all started with a full list of things that are cherished and look forward to having in their lives every day. These are the things that keep us going and keep our lives wholebring fulfillment. Ask them to all cross out the last item. After theyve done this, explain that this is what someone who is suicidal often feels like.

16 Addressing the Impact of our Language and Actions Many of the terms that are used to describe the LGBTQ population can be used in a negative way. How do you suppose this makes youth who identify as LGBTQ feel when they hear these terms? Are there other groups of people where nearly ever word used to describe them is also hurtful?

17 Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide A lot of young people know their friends better than anyone else, so its important to teach them the warning signs of suicide so that they can be Lifeguards or first responders to the warning signs. The more warning signs that are apparent, the more a friend needs help.

18 Film, Trevor Note the following themes and how they may relate to your own experiences: Feeling Different and isolated from ones peers Being forced into stereotypes and gender roles Coping with feelings and experiences we have never had before. Feeling threatened by others who seem different from ourselves.

19 Follow-up Questions to Trevor Use questions to create meaningful dialogue following the film. Ask about how LGBTQ people might feel different and whether anyone in audience has ever felt different or misunderstood. Ask about friendships: has anyone ever had a good friend reject them? Ask about how it would feel to see someone at school be treated like Trevor? Ask about stereotypes that are expressed in the film and whether anyone in the audience has ever felt stereotyped. Ask about LGBTQ support in the school and ideas for better support.

20 Responding to Warning Signs of Suicide What are some of the most helpful things you can do when a friend is showing warning signs of suicide? Listen Accept the persons feelings as they are Dont be afraid to talk about suicide directly. Ask them if they have developed a plan for suicide. Remove anything dangerous Remind the person that depressed feelings can change over time. You can consider telling the persons parents, BUT the person may not be out to their parents, so avoid any issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Make NO deals to keep secret what a suicidal person has told you. Express your concern. Dont pretend that you have all the answer. Point out that death is FINAL and that it cannot be changed. Develop a plan for help with the person. Seek outside emergency help if the suicide attempt is imminent. Offer to call the person back at some point to check in. If the person is not suicidal, you can still try to provide help in may of the same ways. The Trevor Project

21 Closing the Workshop Remind students that young LGBTQ people are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide because of the ways that they are treated. Remind all students of The Trevor Projects core services. Solicit questions and ask them what they learned during the workshop. Commend them on being respectful and having such a tough but productive dialogue. Point out people within the school whom they can talk with if they are struggling – as well as any resources available to LGBTQ students. If you as the facilitator are comfortable, you can also make yourself available following the workshop for additional questions. Complete any necessary evaluations and make sure to offer feedback to The Trevor Projects Program Staff. Evaluation forms for the workshop are available on the educational programs section of the Web site:

22 This workshop curriculum, the Trevor Survival Kit, and Lifeguard Workshop are programs of: The Trevor Project 9056 Santa Monica Blvd, Ste. 208 West Hollywood, CA 90069 310.271.8845 (o) 310.271.8846 (f)

23 Special Thanks to: The Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA) for helping to fund our travel The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) for encouraging Kates research and for helping to fund our trip

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