Summary of Recommendations
1. In all activities and initiatives relating to LGBTQ youth suicide prevention, recognize and address the full diversity of experiences of LGBTQ youth relating both to location and to the intersectional nature of identity and discrimination, particularly in relation to those who identify as trans or Two Spirit.
Schools, Education and Training
2. Implement LGBTQ-specific policies on safety, inclusivity, anti-discrimination and anti-bullying at all Ministries of Education, school boards, schools, colleges and universities across Canada.
3. Support LGBTQ-inclusive policies through effective pre-service training in LGBTQ cultural competency, suicide risk and suicide intervention for everyone who works within the education system, from elementary through post-secondary.
4. Provide LGBTQ youth with access to competent, effective, non-reparative medical care—with a focus on trans youth—through increased pre-clinical and clinical training on LGBTQ-related topics in all medical schools (e.g. sexual orientation, gender identity, LGBTQ youth, coming out, mental health issues, transitioning, substance use, etc.).
5. Provide access to safe social transitioning for trans youth in schools, particularly through:
- Explicit school and school board policies that address gender identity and expression;
- Pre-service training on trans cultural competency for everyone who works within the education system; and
- Access to gender neutral washrooms and change rooms.
6. Create safe and positive spaces for LGBTQ youth within all schools, particularly by:
- Establishing and supporting gay-straight alliances, or similar groups, developed and named by students; and
- Providing access to gender neutral washrooms and change rooms.
7. Develop and implement LGBTQ-inclusive curricula in all subjects at all grade levels, with the support of local and national LGBTQ community groups and service providers, such as Egale Canada Human Rights Trust.
8. Implement LGBTQ-specific suicide prevention public awareness campaigns among school communities, with a particular focus on reaching parents and peers.
Public Awareness, Community Involvement and Accountability
9. Integrate and prioritize a youth voice in all activities relating to LGBTQ youth suicide prevention, in particular, by establishing a national LGBTQ youth cabinet with regional representation.
10. Convene a task force consisting of Canada’s First Nations and Aboriginal peoples to both honour and learn from them.
11. Integrate LGBTQ cultural competency and suicide prevention best practices into services and support systems for which Federal/Provincial/Territorial government are responsible (e.g. youth criminal justice, mental health and addictions, child welfare, foster care, etc.).
12. All provincial and territorial governments appoint and resource a Chief Suicide Prevention Officer.
13. Launch a long-term LGBTQ youth suicide prevention public awareness campaign that involves LGBTQ, heterosexual and cisgender people.
14. Increase research efforts to collect demographic data on the full diversity of the LGBTQ community (location, language, culture, faith, socio-economic status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, ability, mental health, substance use/abuse, etc.) and the implications for suicidal ideation and behaviour, and suicide prevention, intervention and postvention care.
15. Develop a partnership between LGBTQ communities (through Egale Canada Human Rights Trust) and the Chief Coroners and Chief Medical Examiners of Canada, in order to:
- Promote awareness among coroners and medical examiners of the conditions and trends relating to LGBTQ youth suicide;
- Increase data collection, identifying and understanding instances where sexual orientation and/or gender identity are implicated in suicide deaths; and
- Use data from death investigations to develop and support recommendations for preventing LGBTQ youth suicide.
16. Resource and implement rigorous evaluation mechanisms and environmental scans to identify and measure the effectiveness of all existing and future LGBTQ-inclusive policies and youth suicide prevention initiatives.
17. Create and promote resources for existing LGBTQ youth service providers to increase their knowledge of and ability to serve trans and Two Spirit people.
18. Develop and disseminate an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention toolkit, based on best practices, to all organizations that interact with or provide services to LGBTQ youth, their friends and/or their families.
19. Resource and promote new and existing acute suicide intervention programs with a specific and explicit competency relating to LGBTQ youth.
20. Develop and resource “care for the caregiver” programs and services for those who provide care to youth struggling with suicidal ideation and behaviour.
For more information:
Helen Kennedy, Executive Director, 416-964-7887 ext. 7000