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  WINDY CITY TIMES

TEEN SPEAK Sad truth about suicide rates
by Kelsi Williams
2017-08-16

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Depression and suicide awareness are both important topics that have their fair amount of advocates, but what these advocates rarely disclose is that a high percentage of adolescent suicide attempts, suicides and records of depression come from people within the LGBT+ community. It is not to be disrespectful or downplay their struggle, it is merely because this is something not many people know about.

Bullying is a common thing within middle and high schoolers all over the country, this is nothing new, but students that identify as basically anything other than straight are under a lot more scrutiny as well as pressure. The kid getting bullied about not being able to run as fast as everyone else is automatically forgotten about when someone who has an interest in the same sex walks through the door, even though neither one of them should be harassed.

The things said to them by their peers stay on their minds not only because of the emotional effect behind them, but also because of the repetition of which the words are spoken. Since nothing is really going to be done about what is said to the LGBT+ students, they are forced to struggle day to day without much support or help.

Suicide rates of teens have seen a 24% increase since 1999, without worrying about whether their marital decisions will be respected when, and if, they decide to do so. High school is a stressful and very confusing time for all no matter what your sexuality is, so struggling with your own identity is an extra stressor that really wasn't needed.

Bullying and school pressures are not the only causes of large numbers of depression and suicide; treatment from family and former friends also plays a large factor. As a good family member, good friend, basically just a good human being, you should love the people you love unconditionally—meaning, in this case, their sexual orientation or gender identity should not determine how much you love them.

All of this backlash for something they can't change takes a toll on a person and they feel like the only thing they can do to feel better is to end their life—it should be made clear that there are plenty of other ways to escape people who are not worthy of you, but sadly not everyone is told this.

Children and teenagers that have been able to get through the terrible adolescent phase only slightly bruised then tend to experience all of these acts of unkindness in the wonderful adult world. Although being an adult is supposed to make people more mature, considering they are faced with a lot more responsibilities, it is often that they can be just as bad as kids.

Getting bullied in the locker room just turns into getting bullied in the office kitchen while getting coffee. Getting picked last for group projects, unfortunately, turns to getting fired just for sexual orientation, which is of course kept under wraps. These are things that people will rarely hear about because it doesn't impact the "majority of society," but newsflash: Not everyone is built the same way so the whole idea that society is built on people being similar and that there is some sort of standard is pretty much a scam.

The buildup of rejection from loved ones, previous bullying while in school, and unfair treatment in a workplace may eventually lead to a form of depression where the person feels trapped and feels like they have nowhere to turn. This feeling is common throughout people who have depression, but sadly in the cases that I am describing it is often true so, as I stated above, they feel there is only one way out.

Suicide rates within the LGBT+ community are four times higher than any other community regarding race or gender. As a depression and suicide awareness advocate myself, this was a shock. The sheer truth is that mental illness and a person wishing to end their life is a terrible thing all around, but it is even more terrible for your struggles to be overlooked based on something due to things that can't be changed.

I am not saying all of this to be negative or suggest that things do not get better. I am trying to open everyone's eyes so that they can see everything happening under their nose that they may miss. If it is something that you have experienced or missed then I hope this tells everyone that it exists and there are things to be done to save valuable lives.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

Kelsi Williams is a senior at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, where she writes for their newspaper, The Talon.


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