After a highly successful inaugural event in September, the Farmington Area Suicide Prevention Task Force will host a Community Conversation May 23 that focuses on suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.
Research shows that suicide attempts are disproportionately high among youth who are members of the LGBT community. According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is now the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, with lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth attempting suicide up to four times more than their heterosexual peers.
The 7 p.m. event, held at Farmington Hills City Hall, is targeted at parents, youth (ages 12 to 18), teachers, the faith community, service club members, and others who have regular contact with young people.
Featured speakers will include:
- Naomi Khalil, Director, Instructional Equity, Farmington Public Schools
- Frances Brown, PsyD, Director of Clinical Training, Michigan School of Professional Psychology
- Mike Neubecker, Founder, Downriver Chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
- Dave Garcia, Executive Director, Affirmations
- Youth representatives from the Gay/Straight Alliance
With the theme “Let’s Talk About It,” the task force is bringing together community leaders to reach out to troubled youth and counteract alarming trends in suicide and suicide attempts. Suicides have increased by 21 percent in Oakland County since 2008, and Farmington Hills had 10 suicides in 2011, according to Police Chief Chuck Nebus.
Farmington Hills city council member Dr. Ken Massey has spearheaded efforts to remove the stigma of suicide. “We want to bring the topics of depression and suicide out into the open so that all people will seek the help they need," he said.
Massey and his wife, Katherine, lost their son Graham E. Smith to suicide last year.
The meeting is sponsored by the Farmington Area Suicide Prevention Task Force and the Graham E. Smith Memorial Fund. For more information, call the City Manager’s Office, 248-871-2500.