LDS Church and Suicide Prevention
In 2019, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) announced that it was reversing its controversial 2015 policy that classified people in same-sex marriages as “apostates.” The ruling had also barred the children of such marriages from blessing or baptism until age eighteen. Now, children of parents who identify themselves as LGBTQ+ may now be blessed as infants and baptized.
Many in the LDS church had disagreed with the former anti-LGBTQ stance and encouraged fellow Mormons to love inclusively and unconditionally. Even with the change, there is need to work within this community for greater inclusion and understanding of LGBTQ+ youth.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24, and LGBTQ+ youth are at significantly increased risk. The Utah suicide rate is consistently higher than the national rate. Transgender and nonbinary youth were 2 to 2.5 times as likely to experience depressive symptoms, seriously consider suicide, and attempt suicide compared to their cisgender LGBQ peers.
Support and acceptance from family and friends has proven to be a significant factor in lowering those rates and promoting mental well-being for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Reconciling one’s faith with LGBTQ+ affirmation can be difficult, but the two need not contradict each other. Above all, PFLAG encourages dialogue with LGBTQ+ loved ones in the interest of proliferating understanding and love at home and in the context of faith communities.
If you or someone you know is experiencing feelings of suicide or depression, do not hesitate to reach out for help or encourage another to do so; access a list of crisis hotlines on our website. Encourage honest dialogue at home, avoid stigmatizing mental health struggles, and encourage openness in times of trauma.
Remember, if you or an LGBTQ+ loved one struggle with suicidal ideation or mental illness, especially if you are a member of a faith community, you are not alone. Those words may seem distant when read on a computer screen, but they are realized through thousands of LGBTQ+ youth around the country dealing with similar thoughts and situations, as well as a vast network of allies—including PFLAG and our chapters—who believe in and support you locally and from afar.
LGBTQ Crisis Resources, Suicide Hotlines, and Faith-based Support
LGBTQ Youth Crisis & Support Lifeline
The Trevor Project’s website provides resources for suicide prevention, as a well as a crisis hotline with options via phone, text, and chat.
Trevor Lifeline: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)
This project offers resources and educational materials for families with LGBTQ members, particularly with regard to mental health care issues. Their offerings include an educational publication for those who are members of the Latter Day Saints community.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Additional resources for those located in Utah
Encircle | An LGBTQ+ Youth & Family Resource
Encircle offers LGBTQ+ mental health services and other programs in Salt Lake City, St George, UT, and all of Utah.
A thriving LGBTQ center in Utah
Crisis call center and mobile app.
SafeUT Mobile App is available via Apple and Google Play; search “P3 Tips” and select “SafeUT.”
A public-private mental health and suicide prevention campaign that aims to modify attitudes and social norms to reduce suffering and save lives.
Text or call 988
Supports LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and their families, friends and Church leaders in seeking to live healthy and productive lives consistent with their faith or heritage by providing online educational resources, support, and encouragement.
Support organization, engaged in strengthening relationships between LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) individuals, their families and friends.
Supportive group of Mormon and faith-inclusive mothers who champion children in faith, family, and LGBTQIA communities.