R U OK? is a question Gavin Larkin started asking in 2009 due to the loss of his father to suicide in 1995. His aim, to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life. Now, R U OK Day is a widely popular day in the year where Australians are encouraged to communicate and check in with their loved ones with the overall aim of preventing suicide.
Suicide is a particularly important issue for the LGBTI community given their higher rate of suicidality than any other population in Australia:
- LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population
- Transgender people aged 18 and over are nearly eleven times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population
- People with an Intersex variation aged 16 and over are nearly six times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population
- LGBT young people who experience abuse and harassment are even more likely to attempt suicide
- 16% of LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 reported that they had attempted suicide
- 35% of Transgender people aged 18 and over have attempted suicide in their lifetime
- 19% of people with an Intersex variation aged 16 and over had attempted suicide on the basis of issues related their Intersex status
- 8% of Same‐ Gender Attracted and Gender Diverse young people between 14 and 21 years had attempted suicide, 18% had experienced verbal abuse, and 37% of those who experienced physical abuse
(Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics For LGBTI People, National LGBTI Health Alliance July 2016)
The statistics are just as alarming world wide. Because of this, and to commemorate R U OK Day, we’ve created a list of videos of LGBTI people from around the world talking about mental health and suicide. It’s so important to have open conversations about mental health and suicide, and to check in with people and ask; are you OK?
1. QLives: Jason’s Story (Mental Health)
2. Let’s Talk Mental Health – Hannah Hart (ft. Kati Morton)
3. Just Be There: A Message of Suicide Prevention Awareness from Brigham Young University
4.QLives: Sam’s Story
5. Ian Thorpe shares struggles with depression, sexuality and Olympics
6. Top LGBT Mental Illnesses
7. Halsey On Mental Health
8. LGBT effect on Mental Health ft. Emma Wicks Part 1 of 2
9. LGBT effect on Mental Health ft. Emma Wicks Part 2 of 2
10. On suicide among LGBT Youth & The Trevor Project, Dustin Lance Black
11. An Important Message – From Ellen DeGeneres (Gay Suicide)
12. Stephen Fry – Discussing Mental Health
For more information about R U OK Day head to ruok.org.au.
This article dealt with some potentially triggering topics. If you reside in Australia and would like to talk to someone, please call Lifeline, a 24/7 crisis support and suicide line, or QLife!, Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTI people. If you live outside of Australia, click here for a list of suicide lines you may be interested in calling.