Local groups work to save lives from suicide

RICHLAND, Wash. (KVEW) – Two local groups will join together Tuesday night to share information about preventing youth suicide.

PFLAG Benton Franklin is a group focused on advocacy and protections of LGBTQ people. Families, allies, and members of the LGBTQ community meet monthly in the Tri-Cities to plan events and discuss issues of concern.

On Tuesday, the group will be joined by Youth Suicide Prevention Program of Benton/Franklin County.

Mark Lee helps run the program, traveling across Eastern Washington presenting to students of all demographics.

He will present the same program to adults and youth at PFLAG’s meeting, with an emphasis on challenges faced by LGBTQ youth.

“This is more focused on the unusual situations they may be in,” Lee said. “And more of a dialogue about what does safety look like, and what are the things you’re facing, and what can you do?”

Adults will be asked to participate in group exercises, sharing the various stressors in their lives, then reflect on what those would mean for LGBTQ youth.

According to Lee, LGBTQ youth are about four to five times more at risk for suicide.

“When we train adults, we usually don’t go through the experience that youth are experiencing,” Lee said. “So this is kind of a unique way that the presentation from Youth Suicide is giving because it’s tailored to an LGBT audience as opposed to a…mixed audience.”

Topics up for discussion will include resources for increasing support; recognizing warning signs of depression; and developing coping skills.

Those interested are welcome to attend the meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Shalom United Church of Christ.

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