Recently I posted a video by Esther Perel where she provides a brief guide about communicating about love in this day and age. In the video, Esther discusses the phenomena of ghosting, icing, and simmering. In this post, we’re going to look at these terms, why to stop engaging with them if you’re a culprit, and how to deal with the emotions of being ghosted, iced or simmered.
Rejection has always been a part of the relationship landscape. But are the new trends of ghosting, icing and simmering increasing our acceptance of ambiguous ends? These tactics of maintaining unclear relationships and prolonging break-ups all produce what I refer to as stable ambiguity. When we are stably ambiguous, we're too afraid to be alone, but unwilling to fully engage in building intimacy. This behavior creates a holding pattern that affirms the undefined nature of the relationship, which has a mix of comforting consistency AND the freedom of blurred lines.
Esther says that "we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to have someone available to cozy-up with when it’s snowing, but if something better comes along, we want the freedom to explore."
In this relationship culture, expectations and trust are constantly questioned. The state of stable ambiguity will undoubtedly create an atmosphere where at least one person experiences a constant cloud of uncertainty, and neither individual feels truly appreciated or nurtured. We do this at the expense of our emotional health, and the emotional health of others.
"Ghosting, icing, and simmering are manifestations of the decline of empathy in our society — the promoting of one’s selfishness, without regard for the consequences of others," says Esther. There is a person on the other end of our text messages (or lack thereof), and the ability to communicate virtually doesn’t give us the right to treat others poorly.
So what is ghosting, icing, and simmering really? Let's take a look.
Ghosting is simple. The other party simply becomes a ghost. They stop responding to calls, texts, or DMs. Typically, ghosting happens once you’ve already met the other person.
If someone just stops responding to your messages within an online dating site and you haven’t met yet, it's probably one of three things:
Do you ghost?
People who are “into you” don’t “just get the hint” when you stop responding. In some cases, they actually worry. If you’re someone that ghosts others, consider stepping up a little and treating people with a bit more respect. Everyone wants to be respected. You’re not going to be respected if you don’t respect to others. That’s just the way the world works.
Have you been ghosted?
Being the victim of a ghoul sucks. Plain and simple. Many ghostees live in within the gray area between anger and worry. Particularly if they really liked the ghost.
But, it’s not you. That didn’t help, did it? But the reality is, is that someone who can’t send you a message letting you down isn’t someone you want to be with in the first place. How far do you want to go with someone unable to take responsibility for their own decisions?
A client of mine recently came in to their session in tears because the person that they had been seeing for last two months finally reached out to them a week after they left them a voicemail, saying they'd gotten busy. My client hadn't been ghosted. They'd been iced.
Icing is when someone suddenly behaves very cool towards you. Their responses become sporadic and will become increasingly more generic than specific. Trying to make plans will yield responses like “let me get back to you.”
Do you put people on ice?
Stop. Really, people are not toys. It’s OK to call it like it is. Keep a good friend vs. just being a jerk.
If you're prone to icing people, try; this instead: So, here’s the thing: I like you. I like that you _____, and you would probably be great to be friends with.
Warning: If they agree to be friends, make the next four or five connections be group interactions. Test that friendship is going to work. Constant advances aren’t OK. Maintain your agreed upon boundaries.
Have you been put on ice?
I guess the good news with icing is that the other person is kinda into you. They do like you. Otherwise, they’d ghost. But chances are, they aren’t so sure whether the like you like you. That’s worth a little bit of effort, right? So that's why you're on ice.
Icing is weird. People do get busy. But if someone wants to spend time with you, they make the time. At very least, an “I wish I could see you, but I’m booked” text will fill the space and help take the edge off.
Dealing with icing takes a bit of commitment. Give yourself a strategy and stick to it. Set boundaries and limits. A strategy that I teach my clients is 2/4. I recommend that they reach out twice, four days apart. So, if my client reaches out to someone – phone, text, email, DM – and they don’t respond in four days AND they really like them, call and ask a hard “when can we get together again?” But, that’s it.
If my client is truly being put on ice, their second call is going to go to VM. If their crush answers, chances are icing isn’t what’s going on – something else is.
If that second call is met with something other than a “let’s get together x,” most likely it's not worth continued pursuit.
Simmering is the worst. It is literally putting a relationship on the back burner and letting it sit there. And you're in the pot. You're plan B. They're really looking for x but, if the can't find it, maybe they'll settle for you.
Do you let people simmer?
If you’re a simmerer, just say you’re not interested. Maybe you kind of are, but do everyone a favor, just say you’re not. If you’re not interested right now and have the courage to state it, you might have the chance with the person later if you become interested, because you were honest before. But, if you simmer someone, you’re just being a jerk. Even if you believe you have good intentions.
Are you on the back burner?
When you’re being simmered, you have to be the strong one. That puts you in the awful position of having to bail on someone you actually like.
But, here’s the thing: you’re only around for their ego. Even if things would escalate to a relationship, chances are, you’re only arm candy for their ego.
Don’t tell the simmerer, but the reality is quite simple: they’re just not ready for an adult relationship. In an adult relationship, you like someone and you want to give it a shot… or you’re not willing to give it a shot. For some reason or another, simmerers just aren’t willing or ready to give it a shot. And that's okay, but you don't need to stick around until they are ready.
Ghosting, icing, and simmering are manifestations of the decline of empathy in our society — the promoting of one’s selfishness, without regard for the consequences of others. There is a person on the other end of our text messages (or lack thereof), and the ability to communicate virtually doesn’t give us the right to treat others poorly. (Esther Perel)
I encourage you to end relationships respectfully and conclusively, however brief they may be. Act with kindness and integrity. This gives both people the chance to enter into their next relationship with more experience and a clear head, rather than filled with disappointment and insecurity.
Ideas to incorporate into a final conversation:
Of course, couples living in the realm of stable ambiguity don’t always end in a breakup. Sometimes this state is the training wheels period needed for one or both parties to realize they want something more. This is normal for a brief, beginning phase, but not as the defining mode of a relationship.
Many people stay in self-defeating relationships too long because they are they are afraid that they'll be alone or that they are responsible for the happiness of their partner. They may say they want out—but they end up staying. Other people may actually be successful in leaving the relationship but inevitably repeat the same or similar self-destructive pattern in a new relationship. The adrenaline rush that they experience when they feel passionate toward someone can be addictive. For many people, the reason behind excessive emotional reliance on a partner is co-dependency—a tendency to put other's needs before their own.
Recently, I asked a client this question: "What is it that stops you from getting what you want out of a relationship?" Her answer was: "It's too hard to go through a breakup and to be alone." My response went something like this: "Maybe it's time to examine your fears and the ways you might be self-sabotaging." I often realize that my clients aren't always aware that they may be excessively dependent on their partner to feel good about themselves.
So what can you do if you are paralyzed by fear or unable to risk leaving a relationship that is unhealthy for you? The first thing that you need to do is acknowledge it. Fear doesn't go away by itself—you must stare it in the face—it tends to morph into something else. If you sometimes find that you sabotage your own needs in relationships, there could be many reasons. However, codependency symptoms are common for people who grew up in a dysfunctional home—especially if you took on the role of a caretaker.
According to codependency expert Darlene Lancer, most American families are dysfunctional—so you're in the majority if you grew up in one. She writes, "Researchers also found that codependent symptoms got worse if left untreated. The good news is that they're reversible."
Fear doesn't go away by itself—you must stare it in the face—it tends to morph into something else.
As strange as it may sound, for many of us, conflict in relationships is comfortable because pain is what we know. For those people for whom this is true, the fear of getting hurt emotionally may cause them to flee a healthy relationship or engage in some form of self-protective behavior by staying in an unhealthy one. Dealing with an unavailable, distant, or inappropriate partner is their wheelhouse. A partner who wants nothing more than to be with them and make them a top priority is a foreign concept.
Do you find yourself falling into one or more of these codependent relationship patterns?
Nothing erodes self-esteem quicker than an unhealthy relationship. Many [people] remain in dysfunctional marriages because they are convinced that this is what they deserve.
Many of the people with whom I work describe themselves as independent, loyal and conscientious. These individuals are hardworking, trustworthy, and self-reliant—and pride themselves on these traits. They often feel self-assured and autonomous—confident they can take care of themselves while others can't. The truth is that in spite of these wonderful characteristics, many of these people find themselves being attracted to troubled, distant, or moody partners at some point in their lives.
I sat down for a session with Jessica* one afternoon. An outgoing and lively twenty-something, she has found herself in an on and off again relationship for seven years with a guy she just can't seem to successfully break away from. Over the course of my time working with her, I have learned that Jessica never wants to be responsible for a relationship ending. And when her partner, Jackson*, doesn't treat her well, or devalues her love, she wonders why she wasn't worth fighting for. Jessica dreams of a boyfriend who offers her love, security, and respect. But she says whenever she runs across a man who could potentially give her those things, she isn't attracted to him. All she knows is the cycle of inadequacy and mistrust.
Author Allison Pescosolido writes, "Nothing erodes self-esteem quicker than an unhealthy relationship. Many [people] remain in dysfunctional marriages because they are convinced that this is what they deserve." In some cases, there is no need to end the relationship. In my work and life, I have learned that relationships can heal if people change. But in order to heal from an unhealthy pattern of codependency, it's important to regain control of your thoughts and make your needs a priority.
Steps to reclaiming healthy love in your life:
Take a moment to consider that you might be attached to the feeling that being in love brings pain. If so, you might be self-sabotaging your chances of having a healthy relationship where you can get your needs met. Your fear of being alone or taking a risk, for example, may be preventing you from finding the love and happiness you deserve. Maybe you're blocking out the opportunity to love someone who can meet you half way. Author Karen McMahon writes, "By focusing on your healing and personal growth you will energetically transform your life and begin to attract others (friends, bosses, companions) who are your emotional equals."
*Names have been changed to protect privacy
Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a talk given by Mark McMinn on the subject of integrating the concept of grace into his counseling sessions and the impact of its message on the clients with whom we work in relationship. Listening to this message by McMinn helped me reconnect with grace in my own life. Here are a few of my reflections.
I have identified as a Christian for nearly all of my life, but I'm not sure if I always truly understood what the concept of grace means. I’m certain that I heard sermons about it, read about it in the Bible, and heard other people talk about their experience of grace, but for the most part, I was ignorant as to how it affected me. It wasn’t until I read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning that the true message of grace sunk in. I learned that no matter what I did, no matter what mistakes I made, no matter how many times I failed, I could rest in the love that God had for me and know that it was enough.
McMinn talked about grace in this way: Grace is a free gift of love, forgiveness, and God’s favor with no strings attached. It is above and beyond all we could ever want or need. There is no hidden agenda or any way we could pay God back for the grace we receive. It isn’t contingent on how we respond. It is unconditional and is given to us before we decide to receive it. It doesn’t make sense. It changes us.
Grace is a free gift of love, forgiveness, and God's favor with no strings attached.
Grace is believing that I am enough.
I often struggle with what I call my "enoughness." "Am I enough" is a common question we face, and we often answer this question one way or the other based on what we see in our lives. But grace shows us that our actions cannot add to or detract from our fundamental worth and value. If I am going to experience grace for myself and extend it to my clients, I must rest in the truth that we each have individual and inherent worth and value, and that because of that, we are enough.
With grace, we can practice acceptance.
If you were to speak with any number of my clients, they would tell you that I often talk to them about the surprising freedom that comes as we take stock of our circumstances and give ourselves grace for how we are handling them. Often we are plagued by the “tyranny of the shoulds,” where we wonder about how we “should” be facing a certain circumstance, or we worry over how our circumstances are not working out as they “should.” However, the energy spent on “shoulding” all over ourselves :) and others simply increases our distress. As a therapist, one of my goals is accept and love you in the middle of your circumstance, offering you grace when you aren’t able to offer it to yourself, with the hope that you will learn the path to offering grace to yourself.
Our values are important.
Just because we are able to accept our circumstance, it doesn't mean that we are waving a white flag in defeat. Accepting our circumstances doesn’t magically fix them. What it does is provide clarity on what actions we can take to move toward our values. In the urgency of the day-to-day, we can lose sight of the things most important to us. If you make a list of all the things you value and compare it to your current schedule, you would likely find inconsistencies. Identifying and reminding yourself of your values and choosing to act in accordance to them even amidst chaotic circumstances allows you to experience peace.
Accepting our circumstances doesn't magically fix them.
Treatment is very different with a grace mindset.
Manning, the author of the Ragamuffin Gospel, suffered from a lifelong pull toward alcoholism. Alcoholism and addictions of any kind are driven by shame: as the addict feels shame in their life, they will choose to medicate or run away from that shame with addictive behaviors. However, addressing shame with grace removes the fuel for the fire of addiction.
Resist shame by befriending the thoughts that are plaguing you. Accept them, normalize them, and allow them to be there while also making decisions based on your values. Imagine a sex addict feeling the urge to view pornography. In the moment when he or she feels that urge, they may experience shame and “should” all over themselves, which will lead to medicating that shame with the most effective tool that is available to them – acting out their addiction. With an approach of grace, however, the person can choose to normalize their urges (“Of course I’m wanting to view pornography, I’m an addict and there’s a chemical imbalance in my brain.”) and then choose to act in a way that is in alignment with their values (“Sobriety is important to me, so I’m going to choose to call my sponsor instead.”)
Grace is humbling.
Grace offers us the opportunity to admit that we really don't have it all together. Over the years, McMinn named that he had adapted his counseling style from one focused more on concrete thoughts and emotions (cognitive behavioral therapy) to a method that involved more mindful awareness and acceptance of the present state of circumstances (acceptance and commitment therapy). He even wrote a book about the first style of therapy that he admitted to his audience was not in alignment with what he currently practices. Grace gives us the humility to adapt and change our response.
We develop empathy as we connect with our personal brokenness. Accepting grace requires us to admit that we are human, that we’ve failed or done wrong or made a mistake. It makes it easier to forgive others when we see how broken we are ourselves. Imagine the difference this could make in marriage if couples extended grace to themselves and to one another. Imagine the effect this forgiveness could have.
Grace gives us the humility to adapt and change our response.
Most of my work as a psychotherapist consists of helping individuals and couples work through very difficult relationship challenges, and nearly everyday, I have a person sitting across from me in tears expressing frustration, hurt and anger. They often say something like: "He said I am sorry, but it’s at least the tenth time! I don’t know what to do. I am told that it’s my Christian duty to forgive, and the Lord knows I’ve tried. But each time I forgive him, he changes for a little while and then returns to the same behavior. I have a gut feeling I am handling things the wrong way. He never really changes, and I just get angrier. What should I do? Sometimes we hesitate to forgive because we think it must automatically include reconciliation, but in reality these are two separate processes, and one does not always lead to the other.
One person can forgive; it takes two to reconcile
The capacity to forgive does not depend on anyone else's behavior or permission. The person who is being forgiven can continue to be cruel, thoughtless, and relentlessly set agains the person who is trying to forgive. But he or she cannot for me to offer or withhold forgiveness.
The reality is, each of us have the power to forgive anything but that doesn’t mean that a person is willing to forgive anything or that the act of forgiveness will be easy. And sometimes a wrong is so heinous that it can take the rest of one's life to forgive completely. But the possibility is there. The capacity to forgive does not depend on anyone else’s behavior or permission. The person who is being forgiven can continue to be cruel, thoughtless, and relentlessly set against the person who is trying to forgive. But he or she cannot force me to offer or withhold forgiveness. From my perspective, forgiveness is a spiritual act, which means that, ultimately, I rely on God’s grace to accomplish it. In fact, my own faults and weaknesses will get in the way of my ability to forgive, especially in some situations. But whatever I’m lacking, God can supply. At times my need for God’s assistance is acute, but when I choose to forgive, my effort does not rely on any other person.
Reconciliation is a multiple-person process. When one person reconciles with another person, both of them must first ask and/or offer forgiveness. But it has to go further than that. Both people have to choose to do whatever it takes to restore the relationship. One person might be completely willing, but if the other person is not willing, reconciliation isn't possible. This means that I can forgive someone for damaging our friendship, but maybe I don’t feel safe enough to resume the friendship. Reconciliation might happen later, but for now I will forgive and leave it at that. Or I might forgive and be ready to reconcile, but the other person no longer desires the relationship. Or the other person can forgive me but not want to reconcile; or the other person forgives me but I don’t want to reconcile. It’s worth recognizing here that some damage occurs in relationships that are out of balance to begin with, such as the friendship in which one person is needy and the other one always comes to the rescue. In these cases, reconciliation—if it should happen at all—will require a complete reconstruction and that only after one or both people have dealt with their individual issues. Reconciliation can be long and painful and messy, but it can also be well worth all the strife if the relationship is truly restored. Sometimes restored relationships are stronger than they were before they fell apart.
Forgiveness is an interior discipline; reconciliation is an outward process
Forgiveness is a private and ongoing discipline of mind, heart, and soul. Actually, forgiveness is one aspect of an overall posture toward others and life itself. If I am judgmental and vindictive in general, forgiveness will be an awkward and difficult change of direction for me. If I hope to forgive specific wrongs others commit against me, then I should be practicing everyday to look at others with openness and compassion, to be slow to place blame and to resist seeking revenge. And I can even practice forgiveness without anyone else knowing what is happening inside me. I may be super hurt at something another person said, and I know that before I confront that person in any way, I need to choose forgiveness. I might silently work on forgiveness—in my prayer, meditation, talks with a counselor —for days or weeks without talking directly to the person whose words hurt me. In some cases, I might go through that private process, realize that the wrong wasn’t as blatant or as intentional as I first thought, and then get over it completely without the other person ever knowing about my struggle.
Forgiveness is a private and ongoing discipline of mind, heart, and soul.
Reconciliation, on the other hand, is not private because it must include at least one other person. When I’m working on reconciliation, of course I do my own interior work, but I must also cooperate with the larger work that involves others’ personal difficulties and needs. I may feel a burning desire to have a discussion immediately and try to restore the relationship, but the other person has a lot going on—dealing with her teenager, pressures at work, or health problems—and she simply cannot enter such a heavy conversation yet. My loved one may want to reconcile now and move back home, but I know that until she has received professional help for her substance abuse or mental-health problems, such a move would be a mistake and likely result not in reconciliation but a bigger mess. Reconciliation is as complicated as the people involved, and it can require more time and patience than forgiveness because of all the moving pieces. Another big factor in reconciliation is the inclusion—or, intrusion—of other friends and family members. Additional people can provide strength, encouragement, and wisdom. They can also provide more opportunities for argument, miscommunication, and flawed strategies.
A few things the LGBTQ and mental health communities want everyone to understand this Pride Month and beyond
During Pride Month, events and parades across the country celebrate how far the LGBTQA+ community has come in fighting for the right to simply be themselves — and love whomever they want to love — freely. But Pride Month is also a time to reflect on the challenges people in the LGBTQA+ community still face, with politicians pushing laws that hinder their right to exist in public spaces or make it legal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. On top of this, lack of acceptance and bullying can have dire psychological consequences.
According to The Trevor Project, lesbian, gay and bi adolescents and adults have two to six times higher rates of reported suicide attempts compared to adolescent and adult straight populations. The National Alliance on Mental Illness also states that folks in the LGBTQA+ community are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. There’s no doubt that discrimination and societal pressures play a part in this.
There’s also the uncomfortable fact that being gay was actually listed as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) until 1973. Now, those who are gay and living with a diagnosed mental illness have a different set of challenges — while someone may be supportive of your sexuality, they might hold hurtful beliefs about people who live with depression. Another person may get what it means to have bipolar but think a person’s asexuality is “all in their head.” Likewise, while some see their mental illness as part of their identity — perhaps similar to their sexuality — others see their illness as something separate from themselves, unlike their sexual orientation. And neither is wrong.
Here are some things that I've heard from LGBTQ people about the intersection between mental illness and sexuality, and what they wish people understood.
1. “Just because I have a mental illness doesn’t mean I’m confused about my sexuality. A person’s sexuality is not caused by mental illness nor is it a mental illness in itself.”
2. “My queerness and my neurodivergence are inseparable, and that’s OK. I’m not a bad example for the cause because of it.”
3. “My mental illness (MI) did not cause me to be bisexual nor did being bisexual cause me to have mental illness. My identification as bisexual stands alone from my illnesses, and I believe firmly I would still have been bisexual had I not developed MI as a result of the traumas in my early life. I want people to understand it not part of a personality disorder or a reaction to trauma. It is in my genetic makeup as much as my eye color and my skin tone.”
4. “My sexuality and mental illness aren’t the same nor are they interchangeable. I will always be apart of the LGBTQ+ community and I will always live with the effects of my mental illness. I just wish you guys wouldn’t tiptoe around me when it comes to such subjects like depression and PTSD because it is so degrading and hurtful, and I get that you don’t wish to trigger me, but instead of avoiding it — talk to me about it and find out about my experience. Find out about my triggers and find out about me too.”
5. “I wish I connect with more people in the LGBTQA+ community, but having social anxiety makes that super hard. I’d love to reach out and meet more like-minded and similar people, but I can only manage to do so much (most of my friendships are long-distance/online). And finding safe spaces nearby to meet people is also a huge struggle as well.”
6. “People outside the community understood that labels don’t define who we are, but stigma damages us more than they realize — as someone who has fought to accept both her mental illness and her asexuality, people telling me ‘it’s just a phase’ or ‘you’ll get over it’ or ‘you just haven’t met the right person yet’ doesn’t help me accept myself one single bit.”
7. “Just because I was abused by a man (step-dad) does not mean that is why I’m a lesbian. My PTSD has nothing to do with my sexuality. I liked women before the trauma. What really bugs me the most is that some people think that an LGBTQA+ person owes an explanation of their sexuality. No one should ever have to explain to anyone their sexuality.”
8. “Wish they would understand how hard the LGBTQ community gets bullied, picked on and verbally abused by others and how it affects them in many different ways… we are just normal people trying to live our life as any other people and just want to be accepted for who we are, not what we are stereotyped as.”
9. “My mental illness does not cause my sexuality. I have PTSD and depression, and I am asexual. The trauma was not the cause, I just so happen to have both of these as part of my life. Period.”
10. “I’m not ‘just confused’ because I’m non-binary. But my sexuality and gender do impact my mental health. Minority stress is real, and it has a real effect on well-being.”
11. “It’s hard to find other LGBTQ people when you have social anxiety disorder and aren’t out to anyone. I’ve found the community has an intimidating reputation, and social anxiety makes it doubly so.”
12. “We deserve to be included.”
13. “Bisexuality is part of my identity. Depression is not.”
14. “I’m not depressed because of my sexual identity, nor am I queer because I’m depressed. I wish society would stop trying to pathologize my attraction to people.”
15. “Being an outcast in both communities is very lonesome and tiring.”
16. “I am not broken in any sense of the word. But I am 100 percent valid.”
17. “I wish people understood that I like girls all the time, not only when my mood is manic.”
18. “I’m pansexual, and I wish other people understood, regardless of my sexual orientation, I am still a person. A person with a debilitating mental illness who needs love and support. If you cannot support me then step aside.”
19. “Being bipolar doesn’t make me bisexual, and I’m fully capable of having a proper romantic relationship (and I’ve been in one for almost three years).”
20. “We are this way, and we are proud of it, so please give us support.”
If you or someone you know needs help, visit this suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
Thanks to The Mighty for compiling some of the content for this post.
The month of June is LGBTQ Pride month in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots, which were the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S. 45 years later, the LGBTQ community has made huge strides towards equality in America, and has helped reduce stigma and advocate for equality for LGBTQ Americans. However, there are many unfinished battles—including the high rates of mental health issues among LGBTQ youth due to bullying, lack of acceptance within their communities, and difficulty receiving appropriate treatment. While 1 in 4 Americans will face a mental health issue in their lifetime, LGBTQ youth face unique risks to their mental health and well-being. Research suggests that LGBTQ youth are likely to be at higher risk of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) “the reason for these disparities is most likely related to the societal stigma and resulting prejudice and discrimination that [LGBTQ] face on a regular basis, from society at large, but also from family members, peers, co-workers, and classmates.” Stigma and discrimination can have serious effects on young people—including missing school for fear of bullying, homelessness, and suicide. In order to prevent such outcomes, mental health providers and advocates for youth must understand and be sensitive to the specific needs of the LGBTQ community.
Addressing the unique needs of LGBTQ youth
In recent years, projects like “It Gets Better” and “Day of Silence” has pushed discussion of suicide awareness and mental health problems among the LGBTQ population to the foreground. Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has done a fantastic job putting together the “Safe Space Campaign,” encouraging educators to create a safe space for LGBTQ students and their allies to get together speak their mind about their problems. Dialogue about the unique difficulties LGBTQ persons face on a day-to-day basis has increased, but that does not change the fact that LGBTQ youth still find it difficult to speak to other adults about their problems for fear of being bullied or treated differently. Here are some ways that you can help create safe spaces for these vulnerable youth: