Pictured: Blake Brockington, an openly transgender prom king in North Carolina, died this year | Photo: YouTube
Cases of young trans people taking their own lives seem innumerable, especially now that the media has started taking notice. With all this attention, you’d expect suicide hotlines and other such counseling services to be well able to field calls from troubled young trans people.
Sadly, it seems that this is not the case.
According to Hugh Ryan’s Take Part article “There’s a Suicide Problem Among Transgender Youths—and We Need to Help,” a great many counseling services, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, are ill-equipped to handle such cries for help.
Morty Diamond, a graduate student in San Francisco State University’s social work program, is writing his thesis on digital technologies for transgender mental health and has been contacting counseling services across the country as part of his research. Ryan reports that Diamond "didn’t have a single positive interaction with a counselor who seemed educated on transgender issues."
It is critical that those tasked with helping trans people out of their darkest times be able to adequately advise them. With training in how to handle trans-specific issues lacking, transpeople are faced with limited options in terms of emergency mental health care.
Luckily, according to Ryan, there is progress towards filling these gaps. The Trans Life Line is a crisis hotline specifically designed to field calls from transgender individuals. Founded by Greta Martela late last year, the hotline averages 60 calls a day—which is more than its volunteers can handle.
Though organizations like Trans Life Line are signs that the services offered to trans people in crisis are increasing, there is still many gains that must be made.