How We Can Help Young LGBTQ People

LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight, transgender peers. The Trevor Project is trying to save their lives.

THERE IS A PUBLIC health issue deeply affecting young people in this country who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ). Many are longing for a person to reach out to — a safe connection to trust, and a valued resource to talk with when life may take challenging turns. When they can’t find that, the results are heartbreaking.

LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight transgender peers. That means more than 1.8 million LGBTQ young people between the ages of 13 and 24 have seriously considered ending their lives each year.

The Trevor Project is devoted to addressing this staggering problem. Trevor is one of the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25. The non-profit offers toll free, confidential suicide hotline services 24/7 – by phone, online or through text – and LGBTQ youth are reaching out in droves to this safe, supportive, accepting and inclusive environment.

Over the past two years, Trevor has seen double-digit quarter-over-quarter growth in its crisis services volume – going from 5,000+ crisis contacts a month to more than 10,000. Much of that growth is due to texting, which is becoming an increasingly popular way for young people to reach out. This makes sense since 73% of young people have smartphones, and 90% of texts are opened within three minutes. Texting is also private, so young people in crisis can text volunteers from anywhere – even under a desk, in a bedroom or from a bathroom stall – without anyone finding out.

Trevor has made some serious and important technological investments over the last two years to try to keep up with the increasing demand for Trevor’s services – including scaling its chat and text services to provide 24/7 coverage. But it wants to do more to meet LGBTQ youth in crisis and it needs help to do it.

That’s why the PwC Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is giving $6 million over the next four years to The Trevor Project. This is a significant grant by the PwC Foundation and the largest ever received by The Trevor Project to date.

The grant will be used to enhance the non-profit’s technological abilities and incorporate AI solutions and data into Trevor’s volunteer management system, increasing its ability to recruit, train and retain the necessary number of volunteer crisis counselors to respond on its platforms.

PwC is also providing pro bono consulting services and our subject matter experiences in people, technology, and business transformation will help Trevor recruit and train a network of volunteers who can use smart tech solutions to ultimately reach even more of the 1.8 million LGBTQ teenswho consider suicide each year. With this boost to its technological infrastructure, Trevor hopes to add at least 10x the number of current volunteer crisis counselors into an accredited crisis intervention training model by 2022.

As we take this step to help address a significant growing issue in our country, I encourage other foundations and companies to get involved too. Within each of our respective organizations, we are all embracing innovation and harnessing the incredible power of technology every day to help us deliver on our organizational mission.