Advances in Suicide Prevention: Research, Practice and Policy Implications for LGBT Populations

ICRC-S Webinar
Date:  July 10, 2014 - 2:30 pm (America/New_York)

In its efforts to address behavioral health disparities, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has prioritized the goal of suicide prevention among vulnerable populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. Despite strong indications of elevated risk of suicidal behavior in LGBT people, limited attention has been given to research, interventions, or suicide prevention programs targeting these populations. This webinar will offer participants up-to-date information about what is already known about LGBT suicide risk across the lifespan as well as what is being done to improve future research.  

Dr. Russell will report on the findings of an expert panel focused on the need to better understand suicidal behavior and suicide risk in sexual minority populations.  He will summarize existing research findings; he will also share recommendations for addressing knowledge gaps and applying current knowledge to relevant areas of suicide prevention practice.

Dr. Haas’s presentation will focus on recent efforts to address the critical need for valid, generalizable data on the sexual orientation and gender identity of individuals who die by suicide. This will include a  brief review of how the lack of systematic data about suicide mortality among (LGBT) people significantly limits our understanding of suicide risk in these populations, and hence our ability to develop and implement appropriate and effective intervention and prevention strategies. Recently, agencies and organizations responsible for collecting and reporting on mortality data convened to address this challenge. Dr. Haas will report on the outcome of this meeting and describe the next steps in a ground-breaking effort to determine the manner and causes of suicide mortality among LGBT people. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of opportunities for participants to become involved in this work.   

Dr. Ryan will provide information about recent developments in the Family Acceptance Project, a research, intervention, education and policy project that helps ethnically and religiously diverse families to support their LGBT children in the context of their family, culture, and faith communities. This research-based family support model includes counseling strategies, assessment tools, and multicultural family education materials to help parents, foster parents, and caregivers prevent health risks, including suicide, and promote their LGBT children’s well-being. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Review what is known about suicide risk among LGBT populations across the lifespan.
  • Identify gaps in research and describe how this impacts our understanding of the scope of the problem and design of prevention strategies.   
  • Describe new work to develop and test a protocol for collecting postmortem data on sexual orientation and gender identity. 
  • Explain a research-based health and mental health family support model that helps ethnically- and religiously-diverse families to support their LGBT children. 
  • Identify relevant resources available to researchers and practitioners.

Archived Webinar

Event Presenter(s)


Stephen Russell, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Interim Director, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. President, Society for Research on Adolescence 

Ann Haas, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., ACSW, Director, Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University

Moderator: Julie Ebin, Ed.M., Senior Prevention Specialist, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC