I have a favorite 4-letter word that packs a powerful punch. No, it isn't one that TV censors would rush to *bleep* out, nor is it a word that writers replace with %*#'s and $@%'s. However, it does carry a "bad word" stigma that it doesn't deserve. The word in question is, surprisingly, "Help."
This simple 4-letter word is loaded with insinuations and implications. Throughout our childhoods, many of us learn that asking for help is a sign of weakness; a loss of pride and respect that implies an inability to overcome something tough in our lives. It becomes a word that is hushed, discouraged, and shamed among our most powerful leaders to our youngest students, and only accepted in the most dire of emergency situations. Yet in truth, it is one of the bravest, strongest words a person may ever say.
Thankfully, for the past 16 years, hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ youth have bravely asked The Trevor Project for help -- but we can only guess that this number is a fraction of those who still need us. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning young people often have fewer safe places and people to trust when they need support. Not only that, but fears of being rejected, discriminated against, or blocked from accessing resources can all be strong help-seeking deterrents. Even so, no problem is too big or too small to deserve life-affirming support -- and that's where The Trevor Project comes in.
To show LGBTQ youth that "help" is just a call or click away, The Trevor Project is launching its latest campaign for National Suicide Prevention Month this September. It's called "Ask for Help," a life-affirming campaign based on a series of public service announcements featuring young people reaching out to their friends, teachers, parents or counselors when they need help. Through these short videos, available at OktoAsk.org, we seek to empower youth and let them know that not only is it ok to ask for help - but when you do, suddenly you're not alone.
Through the Ask for Help campaign, Trevor is urging LGBTQ young people who may be suicidal or in crisis to call the Trevor Lifeline, available at 1-866-488-7386 (available 24/7, 365 days a year) or reach out over TrevorChat and TrevorText (select weekly hours). Counselors are standing by, ready to listen. If you need support but are older than 24, or do not identify as LGBTQ or questioning, we encourage you to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or through their chat service.
Today, I need your help. During National Suicide Prevention Month this September, please join me and thousands of others as we make sure LGBTQ youth in crisis know that it's ok to ask for help -- and that if they need support, Trevor is here. Visit OktoAsk.org and take a Supportive Selfie, share our empowering PSAs, and use #AskforHelp in your posts. You can also read through our "Help Others" section to learn the warning signs of suicide, apply to become a Trevor volunteer, and discover specific tools for educators that can help save lives.
It's time to shed light on this seemingly forbidden 4-letter word, and shift its reputation from "bad" to "best." There is so much power behind this one, subtle statement - Help - and you have the power to make sure it's no longer pushed aside. Share the message; change the conversation; save young lives. All you have to do is help.
To join "Ask for Help," find resources, and spread the message visit OktoAsk.org.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.