A 90-Minute Workshop That Saves Young LGBTQ+ Lives
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on mental health in the United States. Although the last year has been a shared trauma, the data shows that these times have been especially detrimental for young adults.
According to the CDC, young adults experienced an almost 15% increase in suicidal ideation during 2020.
The data and events of the last year have made it clear that it’s more important than ever to equip our youth with suicide prevention tactics and skills to intervene when it’s needed most. While suicide lifelines are helpful, people are more likely to reach out to their peers before they ask a stranger for help.
As part of our mission to reduce the rate of suicide in the LGBTQ+ community, the Pride and Joy Foundation regularly holds Ask. Listen. Plan. (ALP) workshops for college-aged individuals. These workshops are geared toward all young adults and provide tools, resources, and tactics to literally make the difference between life and death.
In these 90-minute, interactive workshops, students learn significant suicide risk factors, questions they can ask to break the ice, active and focused listening skills, and planning framework and resources to help themselves or their friends.
During the workshops, we practice newly learned skills in role-playing situations so that all participants feel confident in their ability to assess risk, intervene, and help create a plan, as well as what resources are available to them.
Each workshop is customized for the location in which it is held with local resource information. We have found that by customizing each workshop to the specific region, participants are able to more easily retain the information. Suicide can feel like such an overwhelming problem, but by taking it from macro to micro, we begin to realize that we really can make a difference.
Over the last year, all workshops have been virtual but the feedback has utterly blown us away.
In a recent post-workshop survey, we saw that 52% of participants left the ALP workshop feeling knowledgeable about local resources available to them or their friends.
78% said they felt prepared to create a support plan if experiencing suicidal thoughts and feel they know the questions to ask if they are worried about someone's physical safety.
Statistically, we can assume that with every workshop we conduct, we are saving an average of 6 lives. The ripple effect of these workshops is immeasurable.
The more we equip young adults with the knowledge and resources necessary to intervene, the more empowered they will feel to impact other lives. Suicide will never have a one-size-fits all prevention method but with every ALP workshop, we are one step closer to making a massive difference.
Whether in person or virtual, these workshops are one of the key ways your organization can make all the difference in a young person’s life.
About the Author: Braidyn Browning (she/they) is the Director of Operations for the Pride and Joy Foundation as well as a Content and Copywriter for LGBTQ+ owned businesses. They are currently working to finish their van build and get on the road full time with their two dogs, Ben (lab mix) and Mannie (silver pug). Braidyn enjoys traveling, hiking and storytelling. They are so excited to write, speak about and hear queer stories all across the United States (and beyond).
Braidyn is the lead on Influencer Day for the Pride and Joy Foundation’s LGBTQ+ Influencer and Family Summit.