For the past decade, Dr. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) at SF State University has been studying the impact of family acceptance and rejection on suicide risk among LGBTQ youth. Today we’d like to take this moment to congratulate FAP and Dr. Ryan on their truly groundbreaking work.
Because youth suicide is typically the result of many complex interacting factors, our community needs comprehensive suicide prevention strategies and interventions to reduce the risk to LGBTQ youth. FAP’s multi-disciplinary team develops resources, interventions and strategies to help diverse families reduce risk and to promote their LGBTQ children’s well-being.
The first of these resources—a multi-lingual, multi-cultural series of family education booklets—Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Families Support their LGBTQ Children—has just this week been designated as the first ever “Best Practice” resource for suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth and young adults by the national Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention.
The booklets help ethnically and religiously diverse families understand how specific reactions to their children’s LGBTQ identity both contribute to and protect against risk for suicide and related health problems. Guidance for families is depicted non-judgmentally using personal stories, lists of behaviors that both protect against and are related to high risk for suicide and other serious health problems, and approaches to decrease family conflict and to increase support. As only the best resources are, these booklets were developed based on extensive research and direct feedback from families, LGBTQ youth, and the providers who serve them.
As our movement for full justice equality grows and changes, initiatives like these remind us how powerful the work of small groups of dedicated individuals can be. Kudos to the Family Acceptance Project, and to all those who work tirelessly to improve the lives of LGBTQ youth.
Supportive Families, Healthy Children is available for download on the FAP website at: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications