We do a lot of fake funny news relating to mental health on this website, amongst our off-kilter blogs and art pieces, but we also try to find real news stories that may have slipped by the mainstream media news outlets, or in our opinion, didn’t get enough coverage. And Republican Senator, Orrin Hatch’s speech on the Senate floor about suicide and the mental health challenges of the LGBTQ Youth is one of those stories.
On June 14th, the Utah Senator broke party lines and gave an impassioned speech on LGBTQ Awareness that gave us a little bit of hope that some members of the Senate are still looking out for what’s best for the all of the citizens in the United States of America and not just a select few.
“The suicide epidemic has touched all sectors of our society, but the problem is particularly acute among LGBT youth, who experience bullying and discrimination at every turn,” Hatch stated from his podium. “LGBT youth deserve our unwavering love and support. They deserve our validation and the assurance that not only is there a place for them in this society, but that it is far better off because of them.”
“These young people need us — and we desperately need them,” Hatch said. “We need their light to illuminate the richness and diversity of God’s creations. We need the grace, beauty, and brilliance they bring to the world.”
What we found most amazing about this speech was that Orrin Hatch was the one that was giving it. This is a man that once said, “I wouldn’t want to see homosexuals teaching school any more than I’d want to see members of the American Nazi Party teaching school,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
So what changed? It might have been the most recent report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which stated that lesbian, gay and bisexual students are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. This was then followed by a report from the Utah Department of Health that said the state’s youth suicide rate had increased 136% between 2011 and 2015 and is the leading cause of death for Utah residents ages 11-17. If you do the math, the LGBTQ youth community is 108% of that 136% increase.
Was this the only reason Orrin Hatch changed his tune, maybe not, as he will not be seeking re-election when his Senate term is up this year. It’s possible he is now following his heart on what he truly believes is the right thing to do, instead of the right thing to do to get re-elected.
If so, that’s unfortunate, but hopefully, this step in the right direction will find funding for new anti-bullying and suicide preventions programs, and it’s better late than never for the LGBTQ youth community and their mental health as well.
If you or a loved one you know battles with any Mental Health Issues, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore