Mark Kennedy | Associated Press
New York — Lil Nas X was awarded the first annual Suicide Prevention Advocate Award by the advocacy organization The Trevor Project.
Trevor Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to suicide prevention and crisis intervention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people.
The organization cited Lil Nas X’s “openness to fighting sexual desire and suicidal ideation, his continued advocacy for mental health issues, and his unapologetic celebration of his queer identity.”
In an interview, Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of the Trevor Project, stated that the artists of “Old Town Road” have a “profound” understanding of suicide prevention and mental health.
Paley said: “The way he did this resonated and affected the communities where these conversations are usually taboo, but they are very much needed.”
“In fact, he is so open to his mental health journey, so fragile, he has suicidal thoughts, and he is really helping to eliminate the conversations that are often shrouded in shame.”
In February, Lil Nas X shared a series of private TikTok videos, documenting his life story, including his struggles with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation during his fame. In May, he released a music video depicting Lil Nas X promoting a young version of himself when he considered suicide in high school and tried to accept his sexuality.
“It’s especially inspiring to see a black and LGBTQ, proud and unapologetic person,” Paley said. “And seeing people talk about their experiences with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation, and talk about these as part of their art and part of the platform, allowing others to easily talk about the challenges they are experiencing.”
A national survey of LGBTQ youth mental health conducted by the Trevor Project in 2021 found that 42% of LGBTQ youth had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and non-dualistic people youth.
Paley said that from a public health perspective as well as an economic and emotional perspective, the past year has been a particularly challenging period for LGBTQ youth. The pandemic may prevent them from going to school and without the support resources there.
“They may be trapped in families that do not support or sometimes refuse. They may experience emotional or even physical abuse, or they may sometimes be evicted from their homes and experience housing instability,” Paley said.
“Our political climate is very challenging for LGBTQ people, especially since we see legislation targeting transgender and non-binary youths in states across the country. All of this affects people’s mental health.”
Mark Kennedy at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits