Updated: Feb 19
On Friday, February 14, LGBT Tech submitted initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Implementation of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018. The comments deal specifically with the FCC's resolution to make 988 the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's new call number, as well as providing and expanding LGBTQ+ informed crisis support through the Lifeline's services. These measures come as the culmination of ongoing efforts between the FCC and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, including LGBT Tech and the Trevor Project, to ensure LGBTQ+ individuals can receive adequate care in crisis.
“Based on our staff’s careful analysis, I believe that we can get 988 up and running more quickly than other 3-digit numbers," Chairman Pai stated in a press conference on November 19. "And quicker access will mean more lives saved." The Chairman explained his proposal to change the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's number as one based in accessibility: "Awareness of this resource—including how memorable the number is—should make a real difference when those in dire straits want to reach for a lifeline.”
Suicide is a pandemic disease for LGBTQ+ people living in the United States. According to the Trevor Project, LGB youth in particular seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of their heterosexual counterparts, and are almost five times as likely to have attempted it. LGB youth with unsupportive families face an even higher risk, being 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth. Forty percent of transgender adults according to the National Center for Transgender Equality have made a suicide attempt, with ninety-two percent of those surveyed having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
With such high risk for suicide among our populations, LGBTQ+ individuals desperately need access to suicide prevention resources. As the FCC takes steps to implement 988, LGBT Tech will continue to make sure those implementations include support for LGBTQ+ communities.
LGBT Tech's comments are now available to the public.
This blog was updated on February 19, 2020.