Content warning: Depression, suicide, gender identity
Misunderstandings about transgender children mean that many still don’t get the support they deserve, and the consequences can be tragic. Noah recently came to the attention of a Crisis Counselor at The Bridge during a Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS). SOS is a universal, school-based depression awareness and suicide prevention program designed for middle- and high-school students designed to decrease suicide and suicide attempts, encourage friends to advocate for others and reduce the stigma of mental illness and treatment among teens, parents and school staff.
Although assigned “female” at birt, at 13, Noah knew he was a boy. While his family was intact–both parents living in the home–there had been a family history of depression and Noah had been affected lately too. He told his friends that he had been feeling sad, hopeless and thinking about suicide for some time. With the knowledge that suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers, The Bridge Crisis Counselor jumped into action and referred Noah to the local hospital for evaluation.
The Bridge’s Crisis Counselor also helped Noah’s parents understand their evaluation and the importance of intervention at this critical time and also why admittance to the local hospital was crucial to his safety. They also offered counseling services for the entire family to better understand what Noah was going through and how they can all help in his treatment.
During their first session, Noah and his family identified some goals they would work on during their sessions to improve their coping skills and manage their depression as well as furthering his treatment to help with the process of transitioning to a male.
Despite these challenges, Noah has had a dramatic reduction in his stress and the blossoming happiness for him and his family indicates that intervention and counseling has been the right solution. Noah understands that his therapy is ongoing and will take time to work through his gender identity and transition, but now he can focus on learning and growing alongside his friends. There’s still some work to be done with this family, and Noah’s father is still adjusting to his child’s changing gender. However, the continued counseling and referrals to other resources has been helpful in their ongoing stability.