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Federal agencies work to address LGBT suicides

A national task force dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBT youth will be part of the new National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The Alliance, launched by Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in September, is a public-private partnership supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of SAMHSA, revealed the plan for an LGBT youth task force in a five-page letter sent last month in response to an inquiry from leaders of the U.S. House’s LGBT Equality Caucus.

The task force will be led by Charles Robbins, head of The Trevor Project, which operates an LGBT youth suicide prevention program nationwide, and Kevin Jennings, the Department of Education’s Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Jennings, an openly gay appointee, founded the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network.

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Helping gay youth ‘Evolve’

There is no charge for admission to “Evolve!,” YouthPride’s largest fundraiser of the year, so organizers hope attendees will give generously to help prevent suicide by providing counseling for LGBT and questioning youth ages 13-24.