"On World Suicide Prevention Day we remember those from the LGBTQ+ community we have lost."

A message from LGBT HERO's Chief Executive, Ian Howley | @ianhowley

As a suicide survivor I know how important days like World Suicide Prevention Day are. I look back and remember what I went through as a teenager battling against my sexuality lucky to be here today.

I was 12 years old when I figured out I was gay and it put me in a spiral. I hated myself, I didn’t want to be gay and what happened next was horrible. I isolated myself from my friends and family. I became depressed, lonely, looking for a way out and over the space of four years I tried to take my life three times. Luckily, I was unsuccessful, and I am thankful I came through it as a stronger person.

At my lowest I could never imagine a life where I would be happy to be gay, happy to be me. But here I am, a happy gay man, married to a wonderful man, part of a great community and leading a wonderful organisation fighting to make life better for LGBTQ+ people.

We know that as LGBTQ+ people we are far more likely to experience suicidal thoughts or even act on them than our heterosexual peers. And that was before the pandemic hit us. Since March 2020, we at LGBT HERO have seen a huge 44% increase in people accessing our mental health information, the number of people seeking suicide prevention support doubled and our online peer-support forums visits rose be 50%. A lot of the people who are looking for advice are those who are struggling with their sexuality and gender identity, especially from older people. We know that those who are struggling are more likely to feel depressed and go on to experience suicidal thoughts. And this is unacceptable to us. 

This is why, for this World Suicide Prevention Day we put our focus on supporting those who need a helping hand to find themselves. Those who need a little extra support, someone to listen to them, to see them, to value their existence, to say you are perfect just the way you are. You are meant to be you! If we can help these people we can do a lot to prevent unnecessary deaths.

On World Suicide Prevention Day I’m asking you to talk, listen and support one another. If you need help, please reach out. There is support, there are people who want to listen.

Together we can stop suicide


SUPPORT: If you're experiencing an emergency and feel like your life or safety is in danger, call 999 and ask for the police or ambulance service.

You can also call Samaritans on 116 123 to speak to someone, 24/7, 365 days a year. 


LGBT HERO provides a safe and non-judgmental space for LGBTQ+ people to talk to one another about their issues and life experience.

Switchboard - 0300 330 0630, 10am-10pm - email [email protected] - Web text chat here.

LGBTQ+ helpline run by volunteers. Here to help you with whatever you want to talk about. Nothing is off limits.

LGBT Foundation 0345 3 30 30 30, Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm

Helpline that has been running for over 35 years, and is staffed by a team of dedicated staff and volunteer operators. Talk about hate crimes, mental health, gender identity. Whatever you need. 

Mermaids 0808 801 0400, Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm

Family and individual support for gender diverse and transgender children and young people.

LGBT IE - LGBT Helpline (1890 929 539), Gender Identity Family Support Line (01 907 3707), [email protected]

Irish LGBT organisation that offers an LGBT helpline, and gender identity helpline, as well as support via instant messenger you can find here. 

Support U - 0118 321 9111

Confidential support line for LGBT people as well as friends and families. Information offered on coming out, family problems, sexual health, training for your company or provider.

To donate to LGBT HERO visit www.lgbthero.org.uk/donate