Dozens gather in JoCo. for training that focuses on preventing suicide in LGBTQ community

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- As part of National Suicide Prevention Week, the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition Friday is hosting training to prevent self harm among those with alternative lifestyles.

The training seeks to help people recognize biases that can harm others.

Nearly 45,000 Americans take their own lives each year.

Those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community face unique challenges of not being accepted or being treated differently by others. That makes them vulnerable to depression and suicidal thoughts.

Organizers say understanding that some people may have unconscious bias toward those who are different from them is important to making a difference in preventing suicide among the LGBTQ community.

"We all want to fit in," said Megan Clark, prevention coordinator for Johnson County Mental Health. "We all want to be accepted. Being different in any way can be challenging, but we’re also as we are growing up and as we get older, we are learning more about ourselves, trying to figure out who we are and how we fit in the world can certainly be something that poses more of a challenge for folks, depending on what it is they may be struggling with."

Jay Pryor, co-host of a weekly podcast focused on transgender and gender non-conforming issues, spoke to about 60 people about being more inclusive.

Mental health crisis response teams in Johnson County say establishing strong relationships with others is often crucial to preventing suicide. Those who find themselves alone, can be a warning sign of being at risk.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.

Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).

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