“Just Be There”: A Message of Suicide Awareness and Prevention

BYU STUDENT GROUP CONTRIBUTES NEW INFORMATIONAL VIDEO

 

Inspired by this past September being Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland’s message of compassion and hope to those with mental illness given at the just­ concluded 183rd Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter­day Saints, Brigham Young University student members of USGA (Understanding Same­Gender Attraction) at BYU have produced the second in a series of videos designed to foster respectful discussions on same ­sex attraction, strengthening family relationships and championing hope for LGBT youth, their families, and friends.

This new “Just Be There” video was financed with no university or church funding and was produced solely by Brigham Young University student members of USGA at BYU. It follows the highly acclaimed “It Gets Better” video produced by this same group in April 2012, in which an informal survey of about 100 LGBT BYU students indicated 74% of LGBT students on campus had contemplated suicide at some point in their lives and that 24% attempted suicide. These videos reflect personal expressions of faith, echoing the call for compassion, respectful discourse and outreach by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter­Day Saints. For official church statements, see:

https://www.lds.org/topics/same-gender-attraction?lang=eng and www.Mormonsandgays.org

Adam White, senior at BYU in Theatre Arts Studies and a leader of USGA at BYU, oversaw video production and also serves on the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) of The Trevor Project, the leading national organization founded in 1998 to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention awareness to LGBT (and questioning) young people ages 13 to 24. In summarizing the motivation behind these videos, White says:

“One of the most powerful things I’ve learned being on Trevor’s YAC is the power of safe messaging. This video is about recognizing that, for things to get better for LGBT Mormon youth, we have to do and be better at engaging our youth in compassion and non­judgement. Harsh words, no matter how carefully couched, can cause our youth to feel rejected and unloved. There was a lot of success with our It Gets Better video, and yet there was a lack, and that lack was recognizing the hardship that may come when an LGBT Mormon youth faces an uphill battle against well­intentioned, yet abrasive, loved ones on their journey to self­acceptance.”

Bridey Jensen, a senior at BYU in Statistics and female board member of USGA at BYU, notes:

“Our culture within the LDS church sometimes doesn’t leave a safe place to talk about depression and suicidal ideation. Many of us in the LGBT/SSA community have gone through dark times and understand the weight of something that may drive someone to hurt. This video helps bring that issue to the surface. Many are seeking help, while others are looking for ways to understand.”

Bradley Brough, senior at BYU in Music Composition and participant in the video, says:

“I chose to do the video because I wanted to show support for all the people who are suffering in silence. I wanted to let them know it’s ok to reach out for help, that there is nothing wrong with them, and there is no shame in seeking assistance.”

Ryan Arp, senior at BYU in Social Sciences Teaching and participant in the video observes:

“Often in our society we are quick to judge and slow to listen. I hope those who watch this video will gain a better understanding of and learn to listen to the struggles those in the community, more specifically the LGBT community, face with suicide.”

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For more information on USGA at BYU and the ‘Just Be There’ video, please contact us through Facebook at www.facebook.com/UsgaAtByu. USGA at BYU meets each Thursday with weekly attendance growing to 70 to 80 students, professors and church leaders. The individual interviews used in this video will be made available on our YouTube channel in the coming months.

USGA at BYU Mission Statement:

USGA is an unofficial group of Brigham Young University students, faculty and guests who wish to strengthen families and the BYU community by providing a place for open, respectful discussions on the topic of same­gender attraction. We also invite LDS Institute students from across the Wasatch front.

USGA is a safe place for all, not an appropriate forum for angry, vulgar, or profane remarks of any kind, or for expressions of antagonism against any person or organization. In order to foster an environment of respect and understanding, we ask all participants to be mindful of USGA’s political neutrality, and we also ask all participants to be respectful of BYU, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the beliefs and experiences of others. Above all, we support BYU students in upholding the Honor Code, and invite guests to do so as well while in attendance of USGA events.

“It Gets Better” can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym0jXg-hKCI
The 22 stories can also be found on the USGA at BYU YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/byuitgetsbetter/videos

We recommend the recent conference talk on compassion and depression by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2013/10?lang=eng&vid=2722351290001&cid=10

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