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LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention/Crisis Intervention

The Trevor Project



[Trigger Warning: Suicide]

The Situation

Though our nation has made many recent advances in attempting to address systemic and cultural homophobia, many members of the LGBTQ+ community still face discrimination, bullying, unsupportive families and other obstacles. The difficulty of navigating these hostile environments can be especially difficult for younger LGBTQ+ youth. The second leading cause of death among young people (ages 10-24) is suicide, and for LGB youth the rate of suicide attempts is almost four times greater. In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.

What We Do

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) young people ages 13-24. In addition to providing crisis intervention services such as TrevorChat, TrevorText, and Trevor Lifeline, The Trevor Project has also created a wide array of educational programs and resources around suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth. In the spirit of producing innovative research, The Trevor project has partnered with the University of Rochester, the University of Southern California School of Social Work, and Children's Hospital Los Angeles to bring new knowledge and clinical implications to the field of suicidology. You can learn more at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

What We Have Done To Date
  • Answered 45,000 Lifeline calls per year
  • Educated 25,000 people about LGBTQ+ issues per year
  • Created nationwide training programs for college students, faculty, and school leaders in suicide prevention, mental health, and LGBTQ+ awareness


  • How You Can Help

    In order to connect LGBTQ+ youth and provide a safe, supportive, and positive environment, The Trevor Project currently runs an online social networking site called TrevorSpace for LGBTQ+ youth and their allies. In the coming year, The Trevor Project will be moving TrevorSpace to a larger and more efficient platform, and we anticipate a steep increase in the number of users. TrevorSpace is currently administered by a small team of human moderators who don't have the capacity to read through every message that is sent: that is why we are attempting to create a Risk Assessment Bot to help monitor TrevorSpace for messages about suicide or abuse. If a user posts something that indicates they might be in a crisis, this risk assessment bot can notify a human moderator to direct the user to the Trevor Lifeline or other crisis prevention services.

    Level 1
    Build a modular risk assessment bot that can recognize certain keywords and phrases. This bot should be able to interface with the Invision Power Services API, the platform that TrevorSpace will be transitioning to, and flag posts containing these keywords and phrases. (Note: we want to keep the bot modular, however, for potential future applications with the TrevorChat API as well).

    Level 2
    Build an easy to use system (such as a website) for moderators to modify which keywords and phrases trigger a flag. It should also have the ability to let moderators view and receive notifications about flagged posts.

    Level 3
    Level-up the 'core' modular algorithm to flexibly provide a numeric risk assessment for a given statement (even if doesn't contain the keywords or phrases). For example, the statement "I had a good day" would have a low risk assessment, while the statement "I have been thinking about harming myself" would have a high risk assessment. We anticipate that these augmentations would work best using natural language processing and machine learning, but are open to other implementations.
    Recommended Skils
  • Knowledge and sensitivity around lgbt community and suicidality
  • Natural language processing
  • Machine learning
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Heroku
  • Databases
  • Web application development