Jussie Smollett joins the Trevor Project to help fight teen suicide rates in LGBTQ community

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Empire actor and singer Jussie Smollett is lending his influential voice to The Trevor Project to inspire change for their campaign “How To Save a Life.”

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The campaign is an effort to help shed a light on challenges in the LGBTQ community, most notably suicide prevention and crisis intervention, Deadline reports. The organization works to get its message across to save the lives of young people before they get to a point of no return.

“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 Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project.

“Just over the last year our youth text conversations have increased by 165%. Training more volunteer crisis counselors, along with AT&T’s products and services, will help us connect even more young people with our life-affirming crisis services.”

Smollett appears in a PSA and calls for support.

“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, who appears in the PSA below.

“Just one supportive person can decrease an LGBTQ youth’s risk of suicide by 30%, 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.”

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The Trevor Project offers crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace, Deadline reports.

Suicide in the LGBTQ community

Earlier this year, Laverne Cox who has been a fierce advocate for the LGBTQ community opened up about planning her own suicide in a lengthy and heartbreaking Instagram post that sheds light on the unspoken torment experienced by so many of her peers.

 “Many years ago when I was contemplating suicide, I was planning to have a note in my pocket at the time of my death and several other notes in my home which would state my name, preferred gender pronouns and that I should be referred to as a woman in my death. My note would be clear that I should not be referred to as Laverne Cox only not any other name.  Being misgendered and dead named in my death felt like it would be the ultimate insult to the psychological and emotional injuries I was experiencing daily as a black trans woman in New York City, the injuries that made me want to take my own life.

Laverne Cox is a brave voice and we are hoping she and Smollett continue to use their voices to raise awareness about these issues.