Campus Pride Resources

Family Acceptance Project “Best Practice Guides” for LGBTQ Youth Suicide Prevention

New resources aimed at creating a “Best Practices” guide for suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth have been released this week by the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University.

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Over the past few years, media reports of suicide among LGBTQ youth has become increasingly more common. Communities, schools, colleges and youth service organizations have struggled to fill an urgent need in identifying at-risk youth, risk behaviors and intervention strategies to prevent suicide and suicidal behavior.

The new “Best Practices” resources include several studies and publications created by the Family Acceptance Project under the direction of Dr. Caitlin Ryan and are designed to help reduce vulnerability and risk among LGBTQ children, youth or adults.

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 – have been designated as the first “Best Practice” resources for suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth and young adults by the national Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention.

“Our work is grounded in rigorous research and rooted in the cultural experiences and values of scores of diverse LGBTQ youth and families,” said Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project. “So these family education booklets resonate for very diverse families and help them decrease rejecting behaviors which our research shows — though motivated by care and concern – instead contribute to serious health risks for LGBTQ young people. For example, our research shows that common rejecting behaviors such as trying to prevent LGBTQ youth from learning about their identity, not allowing them to have gay friends or not letting them participate in an LGBTQ youth group are related to a 9-times greater likelihood of attempted suicide.”

In discussing the importance of FAP’s family education materials, Dr. Ann Haas, Director of Prevention Projects for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, noted: “For the past decade, Dr. Ryan and her team have undertaken foundational research on the role of families and related social institutions in contributing to protective factors and risk for suicidal behavior among LGBTQ young people. They have turned that research into powerful prevention tools for diverse families. Used in programs across the country, these tools will save lives.”

Supportive Families, Healthy Children is available for download on the FAP website at: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications. Printed copies are available for distribution from the Family Acceptance Project in orders of any size. Lower literacy and faith-based versions are in development. FAP provides on-site training on using these materials and FAP’s research-based supportive family intervention model and other resources and tools. Contact fap@sfsu.edu to obtain printed versions and for information on consultation and training.

Information on Supportive Families, Healthy Children’s “Best Practice” designation is available on the Best Practices Registry’s webpage hosted by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at www.sprc.org.