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suicide ~ grief
Resources I am personally connected with and also local/Washington state ones are listed first, then national, international and internet-only ones.


Bill's Story - Portrait of a Son's Suicide by me, Gabi Clayton. Bill committed suicide when he was seventeen years old in 1995, a month after he was assaulted in a hate crime based on his sexual orientation.

There are lots of other related things on my site including thousands of responses to Bill's story from people all over the world.

"Window" is a film I made for my final project as a senior film student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in 1989. Some brief but important notes were added at the end along with the much shorter original video this film was made from. The boy in it was my son Bill Clayton at age ten. After watching this if you want to know more about Bill, see

11-17-09 - Responding to the suicides of two more gay youths - a letter to the community by Gabi Clayton. (pdf format)

These songs always makes me think of our son Bill. 

Listen to "Pesky Angels" (4:34) by The Righteous Mothers

which is on two Righteous Mothers CD's: Pesky Angels
and: Best of the Righteous Mothers - The First 25 Years

and listen to "Cemetery" by Rebecca Riots:

which is on the Rebecca Riots CD: Gardener

Landscape Without Gravity: A Memoir of Grief - Barbara Lazear Ascher younger brother Bobby died from AIDS at age 31, months after he revealed his diagnosis. She does not shy away from sharing her journey and she writes about it breathtakingly. I've recommended this powerful book to other people who agree it has resonated with their own grief process even when the person's death was not AIDS related. The book was first published in c1992 by Delphinium Books and is available used in bookstores such as Powell's in Portland and in a new paperback printing by Penguin Books.,,0_9780140234954,00.html  

Youth Suicide Prevention Program (YSPP) - Washington state - envisions a state where youth suicide is a rare event, where young people are nurtured and supported, where individuals and families are aware of risk factors for suicide, and can actively seek help from accessible, effective community resources. To that end, YSPP focuses on public awareness, training, and communities in action. 

The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. If you or a friend are feeling lost or alone call The Trevor Helpline. There is hope, there is help. Call 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).

Dear Trevor - an online, confidential Q&A forum for you to ask non time-sensitive questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.

TrevorSpace - an online, social networking community for LGBTQ youth ages 13 through 24 and their friends and allies. Youth can create personal profiles and connect with other young people throughout the country, as well as find resources within their communities. TrevorSpace is carefully monitored by administrators (a mix of helpline counselors and other volunteers of the organization) designated by The Trevor Project to ensure all content is age appropriate, youth-friendly and factual.

The Trevor Helpline is a national 24-hour toll-free
suicide prevention hotline aimed at gay or questioning youth.

Call 1-866-4-U-TREVOR  (1-866-488-7386)

The Trevor Helpline is geared toward helping those in crisis,
or anyone wanting information on how to help someone in crisis.

All calls are handled by trained counselors, and are free and confidential.

A Public Service Announcement about The Trevor Project by the cast of Queer As Folk,
featuring Sharon Gless, Robert Gant, Thea Gill, & Scott Lowell:

TREVOR- Set in 1981, this award winning short film by The Trevor Project is told through a series of diary entries, following 13-year-old Trevor, a passionate Diana Ross fan who strives for attention from his parents by frequently faking suicides - to no avail.

After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools - a free, online resource to help schools cope in the aftermath of a suicide- from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC). (pdf format)

Alexander John Goodrum - a disabled African-American bisexual FTM transsexual activist, born in 1960 who committed suicide in 2002. He said "Diversity is not for the squeamish. It means making (and taking) a space at the table that includes people you don't like, don't agree with, or who you think are just plain wrong."

The Alexander John Goodrum Transgender Mental Health Advocacy Project - part of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA) in Tucson, AZ - offers individual support, general guidance, and peer-based advocacy for any gender-variant person involved with the public mental health system as a consumer--either on an outpatient or inpatient basis. The project also provides transgender awareness education to staff and service providers, especially those front-line staff who work directly with consumers on a daily basis.

If You Are A Provider Working With A Transgender Person - from the Alexander John Goodrum Transgender Mental Health Advocacy Project

Issues Facing Trans People - from the Alexander John Goodrum Transgender Mental Health Advocacy Project

American Association of Suicidology (AAS) - The goal of AAS is to understand and prevent suicide. They accomplish this mission by directing efforts to: * Advance Suicidology as a science; encouraging, developing and disseminating scholarly work in suicidology. * Encourage the development and application of strategies that reduce the incidence and prevalence of suicidal behaviors. * Compile, develop, evaluate and disseminate accurate information about suicidal behaviors to the public. * Foster the highest possible quality of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention to the public. * Publicize official AAS positions on issues of public policy relating to suicide. * Promote research and training in suicidology. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide and a variety of lay persons who have an interest in suicide prevention.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) - dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. AFSP engages in the following Five Core Strategies: * Funds scientific research. * Offers educational programs for professionals. * Educates the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention. * Promotes policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention. * Provides programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people with mood disorders, and involves them in the work of the Foundation.

Befrienders International - an international organization with excellent information and details of local suicide support services in over 40 countries, translated into seven languages. They have a good online quiz with seven questions on the myths about suicide.

Some Books:

Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families After a Suicide - by Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch, 2006

Honest, gentle advice for those who have survived an unspeakable loss—the suicide of a loved one.
Transforming suffering into strength, misconceptions into understanding, and shame into dignity, Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch break through the dangerous silence and stigma surrounding suicide to bring readers this much-needed book. Cobain’s achingly honest account of dealing with the suicide of a loved one, along with personal stories from others who experienced this profound loss, provide powerful insight into the confusion, fear, and guilt family members experience. A chapter about “the suicidal mind” helps families not only comprehend the depth of their loved one’s pain prior to suicide, but also understand why such desperation is so difficult to recognize—even in the closest relationships. By sharing survivor stories as well as the latest thinking and statistics about suicide, Cobain and Larch break through myths, misinformation, and misunderstandings. The result is a book of extraordinary compassion and steadfast guidance for anyone awash in the aftermath of unfathomable loss.

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving The Suicide Of A Loved One - by Carla Fine, 1999.

Suicide would appear to be the last taboo. Even incest is now discussed freely in popular media, but the suicide of a loved one is still an act most people are unable to talk about--or even admit to their closest family or friends. This is just one of the many painful and paralyzing truths author Carla Fine discovered when her husband, a successful young physician, took his own life in December 1989. And being unable to speak openly and honestly about the cause of her pain made it all the more difficult for her to survive.
With No Time to Say Goodbye, she brings suicide survival from the darkness into light, speaking frankly about the overwhelming feelings of confusion, guilt, shame, anger, and loneliness that are shared by all survivors. Fine draws on her own experience and on conversations with many other survivors--as well as on the knowledge of counselors and mental health professionals. She offers a strong helping hand and invaluable guidance to the vast numbers of family and friends who are left behind by the more than thirty thousand people who commit suicide each year, struggling to make sense of an act that seems to them senseless, and to pick up the pieces of their own shattered lives. And, perhaps most important, for the first time in any book, she allows survivors to see that they are not alone in their feelings of grief and despair.

Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide - by Christopher Lukas and Henry M. Seiden, 2007.

Silent Grief is a book for and about "suicide survivors" - those who have been left behind by the suicide of a friend or loved one. Author Christopher Lukas is a suicide survivor himself - several members of his family have taken their own lives - and the book draws on his own experiences, as well as those of numerous other suicide survivors. These personal testimonies are combined with the professional expertise of Henry M. Seiden, a psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist. The authors present information on common experiences of bereavement, grief reactions and various ways of coping. Their message is that it is important to share one's experience of "survival" with others and they encourage survivors to overcome the perceived stigma or shame associated with suicide and to seek support from self-help groups, psychotherapy, family therapy, Internet support forums or simply a friend or family member who will listen. Silent Grief gives valuable insights into living in the wake of suicide and provides useful strategies and support for those affected by a suicide, as well as professionals in the field of psychology, social work, and medicine.

Break the Silence (BTS) - a watchdog organization formed because of first-hand knowledge and experience that inpatient safety is not always provided to those in need of protection. "Although we all assume - and have the right to expect - that we and our loved ones will be kept safe while inpatients at hospitals and treatment centers, that is not always the case."

Bruce - Tribute and Memorial - A Mother's Loss of a Beloved Son to Suicide - March 26, 1971 ~ October 8, 1992. A very personal and heartfelt look at a mother's loss of her beloved son. Roz Michael's shares Bruce's note he left explaining his reason for taking his own life and a moving letter she wrote to him seven years after his death.

Bullying and LGBTQ Suicide - by Paul Cody, Ph.D., University of New Hampshire Counseling Center. "Bullying is a blight upon any educational system. Bullying youth have learned to hate from an environment in which some politicians and religious leaders devalue the lives of LGBTQ people and provide the language bullies can mimic. Some families model hate. As a result, LGBTQ children and youth sometimes endure experiences for which we, as adults, would call the police if they happened to us." - also see Paul Cody's "Suicide and LGBTQ Youth" listed below.

CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay In America - a book by philanthropist and longtime human rights advocate Mitchell Gold, with unique blend of up-close and personal stories. Chapters include Religious Discrimination, Family and Community Rejection, School and Social Discrimination, In the Workplace, What I Know Now: On Losing a Child, The Sin Question, and Exposé: A Silent Epidemic of Depression, Isolation, and Fear.

Covering Suicide - by Meg Spratt of The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma. This five part feature is written with a focus on providing information to journalists about covering suicide with understanding and sensitivity. The sections are: Fighting the Stigma; Covering a Community Loss; Reporting Suicide and Finding a Balance; Remembering My Father; and Depression: What Journalists Should Know. Meg Spratt is Associate Director of Academic Programs for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and a lecturer in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. With more than 20 years experience as a journalist and journalism educator, her research interests include news coverage of tragedy, race and gender, and political communication, with an emphasis on photojournalism.

The Culture of Grief - information on communal grief (the "people's princess" is returned to the earth. Why did millions mourn?), grieving - bad grief and good grief., healing - seeking solace, and mourning - a cultural thing.

Darkness Calls - this comic book from the Healthy Aboriginal  Network was created to promote Aboriginal health, literacy & wellness. It is inspired, written and illustrated by Steve Sanderson, a professional Aboriginal (native Canadian) youth cartoonist. It is a great resource on suicide prevention for youth, visual learners and hard to reach populations.  It's the story of a teenager that feels socially isolated and has difficulty at school.  Even though Kyle has tremendous artistic talent and the support of a good friend he finds one day just too overwhelming and considers taking his own life.  It's the story of the struggle between good and evil over the spirits of youth. The Healthy Aboriginal Network - creates comics on health and social issues for youth. Topics covered are: Youth health issues, Standing Together, Suicide prevention, Darkness Calls, Gambling addiction, On the Turn, Diabetes prevention, An Invited Threat, Staying in school, and Level Up.

"Hey Mom" A song about teen suicide.
Words by Chet A. Blum ... Music By Barry David Butler ... Performed by Barry & The Boomers.

Hospice - a concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments. Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Hospice staff and volunteers offer a specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort and dignity. The word "hospice" stems from the Latin word "hospitium" meaning guesthouse. It was originally used to describe a place of shelter for weary and sick travelers returning from religious pilgrimages.

If you are thinking of committing suicide... read this first - This page is not specifically GLBTQ related but it is excellent and it includes resources.  "If you are feeling suicidal now, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take about five minutes. I do not want to talk you out of your bad feelings. I am not a therapist or other mental health professional - only someone who knows what it is like to be in pain."

In Memory of Garth Manheim: 1/15/84 - 7/11/01 - On July 11, 2001, while on vacation on the Adriatic coast of Italy, sixteen year old Garth Manheim took his own life. "We will never know for sure where it all went wrong for Garth, but we had long feared for his future. He seemed ill-equipped for the modern world, a Don Quixote without the benefit of senile delusions to protect him from the harsh blows of finding, over and over again, that he was only doing battle with windmills."

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) - dedicated to: preventing suicidal behaviour, alleviating its effects, and providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis  workers, volunteers and suicide survivors.

The It Gets Better
Dan Savage's YouTube video project to prevent LGBTQ teen suicide
is a
YouTube channel:


If you are a student leader or an adult who works with young people …
show the 8 minute video to your Gay-Straight Alliance, your student government, your church youth group
 or any other place where there might be a teen who needs to see it … openly gay or not.

If you are a happy LGBTQ adult who survived high school …
make a video and submit it to Dan for inclusion on his new "It Gets Better" YouTube channel.

Article: Dan Savage Aims to Save LGBT Kids in The Advocate, 9-21-10 - Just six days past his 13th birthday, Jared Benjamin High died from depression and suicide due to bullying.  Read about Jared's life and how bullying led to his tragic end. His family sued the Pasco Washington School District and that lawsuit was settled on January 25th, 2003.  

Jim in Bold - For 19 year old Jim Wheeler, growing up gay in rural Pennsylvania was too much to take and in 1997 he committed suicide. His story is told by his family and friends in this documentary by filmmaker Glenn Holsten in collaboration with Equality Forum and Young Gay America. The film examines the many complicated issues facing gay and lesbian teens, and explores the profound impact of nationally tolerated homophobia in our culture and public schools on GLBT youth. 

Navigating Grief - an educational and informational community, is the combined resources of Storybooks for Healing® an eight week bereavement group support and writing curriculum (2009) plus Grief Reflection, a caregiver’s blog for end-of -life care (2010). Grief Reflection itself is the term given to the writing process in Storybooks for Healing. Grief is a person’s reaction to loss, whether anticipated during terminal illness or after the death of a loved one. Grief is also experienced with other losses such as as divorce, chronic illness or moving as well, but the focus for Navigating Grief is primarily the caregiver’s grief and losses pertaining to a deaths. Navigating Grief is a resource and support community of online journals, workshops, seminars, peer discussions, writing programs and memory preservation tools.

Prayers for Bobby, A mother's coming to terms with the suicide of her gay son - Bobby committed suicide in 1983. Leroy Aarons wrote this book  working with his mother Mary Griffith. 

Reminding Loved Ones That Life is Precious: Suicide Prevention Resources - a collection of general information about suicide (not LGBT specific) created by Life Insurance Quotes - which was suggested to me by Michelle, Heather, and the students in Class 5-A (2012) at Cleary Mountain Elementary School in California - thanks!

Robbie Kirkland - Remember Me - a celebration of the life of our son and a portrayal of his struggle with his sexuality. It is not meant in any way to glamorize suicide. Our hope is that it will be able to help others like him identify and realize they still have hope, and that there are resources and people to help them.  Leslie Sadasivan, Robbie's mom wrote, "On Jan. 2, 1997, my darling 14 year old son, Robbie Kirkland committed suicide after a 4 year struggle to accept and find peace with his homosexuality." Read some of his poems, responses to his suicide from his family and community, and more.  

Suicide and LGBTQ Youth - by Paul Cody, Ph.D., University of New Hampshire Counseling Center. "In general, our society is more dangerous and/or neglectful for LGBTQ youth, particularly those in high school. Resources that may help them in the developmental tasks of finding identity and establishing intimacy are nonexistent in most places, scarce in others. It is dangerous because there are real threats to their emotional and physical well-being that they must try to navigate."  - also see Paul Cody's "Bullying and LGBTQ Suicide" listed above.

Suicide Hotlines - not just focused on GLBTQ persons, but a way to look for someone to talk to at a crisis line in your area (US National, Canada, Puerto Rico, and International) with information on what to expect when you call and more. There is also a toll-free nationwide USA number listed at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) 24 hours / 7 days a week. - Kevin Caruso's suicide prevention, awareness, and support website is comprehensive and constantly being updated. It includes numerous articles, a large directory of suicide hotlines, FAQs, a free suicide prevention program, an anti-bullying guide, a large directory of suicide support groups, and a myriad of other excellent resources.

Suicide Prevention Help: The Friendship Letter - by interdisciplinary fine artist of music, art, video and creative writing Kenneth Hemmerick from Montreal, Canada. He survived abuse, depression, and a suicide attempt. 

Here's an article about Kenneth Hemmerick's work. 

The Suicide Prevention Action Network USA (SPAN USA) links the energy of those bereaved or touched by suicide with the expertise of leaders in science, health, business, government and public service to achieve the goal of significantly reducing the national rate of suicide by the year 2010. SPAN USA was founded in 1996 by Gerald and Elsie Weyrauch of Marietta, Georgia, survivors of the suicide of their 34-year-old physician daughter, Terri. Their goal was to create a way for those who have lost someone to suicide to transform their grief into positive action to prevent future tragedies. 

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) - provides prevention support, training, and resources to assist organizations and individuals to develop suicide prevention programs, interventions and policies, and to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. SPRC enhances the nation's mental health infrastructure by providing states, government agencies, private organizations, colleges and universities, and suicide survivor and mental health consumer groups with access to the science and experience that can support their efforts to develop programs, implement interventions, and promote policies to prevent suicide.

Suicide Risk and Prevention for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth - Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) has released Suicide risk and prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Written by SPRC staff and reviewed by experts in sexual and gender minority issues, suicide, and suicide prevention, and by youth, this publication addresses the special concerns related to suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. This paper paper outlines recommendations for helping to reduce suicidal behavior among LGBT youth, and includes a resource appendix and an extensive bibliography. (pdf format)

Also on the SPRC website:

  • National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) - published by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of the Surgeon General. (pdf format, published in 2001, 206 pages)

  • Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Suicide - published by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (pdf format, published in 1999, 23 pages)

  • SPRC's Online Library - a searchable collection of resource materials on various topics in suicide, suicide prevention, and mental health. Items are regularly added by professional librarians.

Suicide Prevention Through Skilled Suicide Assessment - for mental health professionals, substance abuse counselors, school counselors, primary care physicians, and psychiatric nurses, who are looking for information on the development of suicide prevention skills, crisis intervention skills, and advanced clinical interviewing skills.

Talking About Suicide & LGBT Populations: Guidelines & Protocols - Safe public discussions about suicide can play a critical role in increasing acceptance of LGBT people and supporting their well-being, while minimizing the risk of a phenomenon known as suicide contagion. Talking About Suicide & LGBT Populations provides detailed recommendations for more safely discussing suicide in public conversations and social media, while at the same time expanding public conversations about the well-being of LGBT people, promoting the need for family support and acceptance, and encouraging help-seeking by LGBT people who may be contemplating suicide. and the report in a PDF file (pdf format) 

TEACH Ministries (To Educate About the Consequences of Homophobia) -  Mary Lou and Bob Wallner lost their lesbian Christian daughter Anna to suicide in February of 1997. They now work to see the church accept and welcome GLBT people.


Things Will Get Better by Nhojj


Heartbroken by recent suicides of OUR kids, Nhojj wrote this because he wanted to do something to help. It is a song of consolation and hope. Robert Allan Arno, Soul of the Voice, Ltd., calls "Things Will Get Better" the "ultimate, empowering lullaby of the tender heart."


This is Nhojj's offering to all those kids who are on the verge of losing life's most precious asset -- hope.  It is for them.

"I wrote this song because I'd been hearing about our kids loosing hope, and at first I didn't know what to do. But thankfully I came across the It Gets Better campaign. Dan & Terry have this amazing idea to share our stories to help teens realize that it does get better. This is my story told the best way I know how -- through music.

Love & Light


White Ribbon Campaign - Raising Awareness about Gay-Teen Suicide and remembering those who we've lost.

Youth Suicide Problems - An extensive collection of information related to Gay/Bisexual Male Suicidality by Pierre Tremblay of Calgary, Canada.


© 2003-2012 Gabi Clayton


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