ITCC hosts LGBTQ suicide prevention panel to educate community

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU)- Each day 121 people commit suicide in the United States, according to the American Association of Suicidology. The risk of suicide is much higher among people in the LGBTQ community, which is why Ivy Tech Community College of South Bend held a panel to discuss prevention methods and resources in the community.

Warning signs of suicide are the same for the LGBTQ community as they are for anyone else. They may talk about being a burden, being depressed or lack interest and act recklessly or look for ways to kill themselves.

Things that especially increase LGBTQ suicide risk include if their family doesn't accept them, verbal or physical harassment, discrimination or homophobia.

"It mostly comes from feeling not accepted or their family doesn't accept them," said Deshana Sims, LGBT President Ivy Tech South Bend. "They feel like they have no where else to turn to except suicide. I just want to bring awareness to that."

"I think it's important people know that they're not alone and that there are resources available if you are LGBTQ and experiencing suicidal thoughts," said Eli Williams, Executive Director, LGBTQ Center South Bend.

LGBTQ individuals who are 'coming out' are at an even higher risk for suicide.

Here are some other highlights from the panel:

If you know someone considering suicide:
-Take them seriously
-Tell them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
-Help them remove lethal means
-Don't leave them alone if you are afraid for their safety, either call for help or go with them to seek assistance

Local Resources For Help:
-Nearest emergency room
-Oaklawn Services, 415 E. Madison St., South Bend, 574-283-1234
-Memorial Epworth Center & Hospital, 420 N. Niles Ave., South Bend, 574-647-8400
-The LGBTQ Center, 1522 E. Mishawaka Ave., South Bend, 574-234-1411
TREES, Inc. (Transgender Resource, Education and Enrichment), 219-331-4665
-Mosaic Health and Healing Arts, 330 Lakeview Drive, Goshen, 574-537-2680

Also keep in mind that most people who attempt suicide try to communicate their intention to others. If something just doesn't sound right, ask if they are suicidal.