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Trevor Project and Campus Pride Create Online Safety Net

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday Nov 1, 2013

In an effort to keep LGBT youth safe from suicide and bullying, The Trevor Project has announced a series of online training simulations and a public service announcement campaign to help youth learn how to ask for help, and how to get it.

"Step in, Speak Up, and the LGBTQ on Campus trainings allow The Trevor Project to expand our reach exponentially, helping more people build the skills they need to create safe schools," said Executive Director and CEO Abbe Land. "By making schools and campuses safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students, we can help improve safety for all students."

These three important trainings for secondary and higher education staff and students build skills to support at-risk youth in the years when peer pressure, harassment and bullying can have the most devastating results. To view live demos of these trainings go to: or

The online simulations are built using Kognito Interactive's proprietary "Human Interaction Game Engine™" which is based on research in neuroscience, virtual humans, social cognition, and adult learning theory. The simulations are available 24/7 online.

A student's environment and sense of safety at school and on campus impact academics, absenteeism and psychological well-being. Among LGBT middle and high schoolers, 63.5 percent say they were more likely to fear for their safety due to sexual orientation. And college students and faculty who identify as LGBTQ not only express significantly higher rates of harassment than their straight peers, but were also more likely to fear for their physical safety based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

With these training simulations by The Trevor Project and Campus Pride, more attention is focused on student safety and mental health support. Programs like this can help improve school and campus climate, reducing risk and improving outcomes for LGBTQ students and staff.

"By providing users with practice speaking with virtual students, Step In, Speak Up! and the LGBTQ on Campus trainings build the skills and confidence individuals need to engage in similar conversations in real life," said Kognito's Co-Founder and CEO Ron Goldman. "Engaging in these very challenging conversations is at the core of truly overcoming stigma and supporting LGBTQ youth."

Ask for Help, Says Trevor PSA Campaign

On Oct. 23, The Trevor Project unveiled a new campaign of public service announcements (PSA) to empower youth in crisis to "Ask for Help." This teen and youth focused campaign helps raise awareness to end suicide, the second leading cause of death among American youth.

"’Ask for Help’ is about empowerment and celebrating true heroism. One of the hardest things a person can do is admit that they need help, and we are grateful to hear from these kinds of heroes every day at The Trevor Project," said Land. "Our goal is to encourage more youth to know that they can be heroes by not keeping thoughts of suicide to themselves. They are not alone. Whether it’s a counselor at The Trevor Project, a parent, a teacher, a pastor or a friend, someone cares for them and is willing to listen. It’s OK to ask for help."

Studies show that youth who are considering suicide do not often seek professional help, including after an overdose. Less than two-thirds of youth who need mental health care actually receive it. But the majority of young people studied do seek help from people they know and trust, especially peers. This new PSA campaign promotes strengthening this kind of positive social connectedness, a known protective factor to prevent suicide and other high-risk behaviors, to make it easier for an at-risk individual to reach out for and receive help in times of crisis.

Developed by Avant Gérard, "Ask for Help" PSAs use empowering first-person accounts of youth overcoming obstacles by reaching out to friends, teachers, parents or counselors for help. The 39 pieces are available for television and radio broadcast, as well as print, billboard, web banner and online video distribution at

TrevorLIVE Los Angeles Benefit Event

In an effort to raise funds and awareness for their programs and services, The Trevor Project will hold their annual benefit event, TrevorLIVE Los Angeles, on Dec. 8, presented by Audi of America and Wells Fargo.

This high-profile evening of music, comedy, entertainment and esteemed speakers will honor Brigham Young University senior Adam White with the Trevor Youth Innovator Award. In addition, Toyota will be presented with the Trevor 20/20 Visionary Award. The carmaker has scored 100 percent for the past five years on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.

"Adam is a an example of a bona fide Trevor Youth Innovator, who works through his faith to ensure other LGBTQ Mormons find safety, community and acceptance," said Land. "Our dynamic honorees serve to teach the greater community about what it means to break boundaries and stereotypes to benefit LGBTQ youth everywhere."

For information or tickets, visit

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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