Mar 9, 2022 - World

Trevor Project expands digital crisis services to LGBTQ youth in Mexico

People wearing colorful masks and leis while holding signs against homophobia

Rainbow-masked youth protest against homophobia, hate crimes, transphobia and discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community in Ecatepec, Mexico on May 18, 2019. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Images

LGBTQ youth in Mexico will soon be able to access support from trained counselors through digital crisis services provided by The Trevor Project, an organization that runs crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ people under 25.

The big picture: This is the first time The Trevor Project is expanding services outside of the United States. Over 40 million LGBTQ young people seriously consider suicide each year around the world, according to rough estimates from the group.

  • The expansion is part of the organization's three-year strategic plan.

Driving the news: The organization will expand its chat and text services to Mexico by the end of 2022.

  • Leaders selected the country after weighing mental health needs and looking at regulatory risk, among other things, the organization said.
  • "It's actually more challenging ... because you can be aware that a lifeline exists and still be afraid or hesitant to reach out for help," Amit Paley, The Trevor Project's CEO and executive director, told Axios.
  • "We also need to make sure that we are creating messaging that is letting young people in Mexico know it's okay not to be okay and that it's brave to ask for help. It can be really challenging, but it can be life-saving."

State of play: A survey from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a "high prevalence" of LGBTQ people having suicidal thoughts.

  • Of the 1,525 survey respondents, 28% said they have thought about suicide and 4.7% said they had made an attempt.

Zoom out: Mexico's National Council to Prevent Discrimination, a government body responsible for "guaranteeing equal rights," found that almost 55% of the 8,647 LGBTQ people who participated in a 2018 survey had considered suicide.

What they're saying: "There is a persistent need for more mental health resources and support for Mexican LGBTQ youth," Carlos Carrazana, The Trevor Project’s Mexico-based interim chief operating officer, said in a statement.

  • "We also know that the challenges LGBTQ young people face in Mexico may look different than those that youth face in the U.S. We’re aware that there are many amazing local organizations fighting for the wellbeing of LGBTQ youth in Mexico, and we’re so energized to collaborate with those on the ground and build on the progress they’ve already made."
  • Just as in the U.S., Mexico has areas "where there is more or less inclusion or more or less stigma, but that's where our vision can ... make sure all LGBTQ people in Mexico know they always have somewhere they can reach out to for help," Paley said.
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