First Presenter's Institution

Augusta University

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 8 (Scarbrough 1)

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

  1. LGBTQ+ students often face a more difficult and hostile school environment (Strand II). This can often lead to increased risk for suicide, self-harm, mental health issues and drug use. This presentation will inform educators and other professionals who work with children on why advocating for this under-served population is necessary. It will also provide information on how to specifically improve school and community climates for LGBTQ+ youth by advocating, as well as providing resource information on crisis services and immediate interventions available within Georgia and nationwide (Strand IV).

Brief Program Description

This presentation is aimed to provide professionals who work with children, including educators, administrators, counselors, and adult volunteers, information regarding the increased risks and needs for the LGBT+ population between the ages of 10-19 and how to advocate for them within community and school settings.

Summary

  1. LGBT+ youth are a severely underserved population. Struggling with sexual identity or “coming out” during this critical developmental period can lead to several issues, including increased risk of suicide and drug use. Having unsupportive home and school environments only exacerbate the problems, increasing the risk of suicide up to 8 times more than non-LGBT+ youth in the same age bracket and increase the chance of drug use up to 3 times more than others in the same age group (GLSEN, 2015). The school climate information provided by LGBT+ youth show a hostile environment, full of bullying, harassment, and assault (GLSEN, 2015). Many do not want to seek help because of doubts of effective intervention (Weiderhold, 2014).

This presentation is aimed to provide professionals who work with children, including educators, administrators, counselors, and adult volunteers, information regarding the increased risks and needs for the LGBT+ population between the ages of 10-19. This includes relevant information on suicide rates, drug use rates, mental health issues, and school climate study statistics. Information will be provided on how to address them with nationwide and state resources. These resources include suicide awareness and prevention, drug use intervention, Safe Zone environment training, bullying awareness and interventions, and advocation opportunities that can be done within the classroom, school, and community, as well as state laws and regulations regarding sexual orientation protections called “safe schools laws”. Education is the basis of advocation and this presentation will provide a dearth of information to lead those interested in the right direction for formulating a plan for their specific environment.

Evidence

  1. Evidence is provided from numerous school-climate surveys (GLSEN, 2015; Human Rights Campaign, 2015; NAMI, 2018), government sites (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2017; Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017), and gay right advocation sites (GSA Network, 2018; Human Rights Campaign, 2015).

Evidence practices are suggestions from these numerous resources, as well as next step guidelines from the school-climate surveys. Safe Zone training has been utilized through numerous schools on multiple education levels to provide a safe, bias-free zone for LGBTQ+ students within the educational environment (Safe Zone, 2018). The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has numerous guidelines and trainings for suicide prevention across a multitude of populations, including specific guidelines for youth (AFSP, 2017). They are also at the front lines of advocacy within public policy for mental health and suicide awareness, providing up to date information relevant to suicide prevention.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

  1. Stefanie Hassing is a Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Graduate Student at Augusta University, in Augusta, GA. She is a field advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She is currently doing internship with veterans, providing advocacy, treatment, and education for suicide prevention within this high-risk population. She has also presented at the Impacting Student Learning Conference in Augusta, Georgia regarding LGBTQ+ youth advocacy specifically within the educational environment.

Keyword Descriptors

LGBTQ+, school, advocacy, suicide prevention, safe school, safe zone

Presentation Year

March 2019

Start Date

3-6-2019 9:45 AM

End Date

3-6-2019 11:00 AM

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Mar 6th, 9:45 AM Mar 6th, 11:00 AM

The importance of advocating for LGBTQ+ youth in schools and the community.

Session 8 (Scarbrough 1)

This presentation is aimed to provide professionals who work with children, including educators, administrators, counselors, and adult volunteers, information regarding the increased risks and needs for the LGBT+ population between the ages of 10-19 and how to advocate for them within community and school settings.