Janelle Monáe named Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year

Janelle Monae Suicide Prevention

Janelle Monae had Stephen Colbert dancing on his desk when she appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in July 2018. Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month might be over, but Janelle Monáe doesn’t want the conversation to end.

Monáe has been named Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year by The Trevor Project.

She is the second recipient of the award which recognizes influential public figures who champion the LGBTQ community and advocate for mental health awareness. Lil Nas X was honored last year.

“As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety, prioritizing and protecting your mental health is everything,” Monáe said in accepting the award Sept. 20. “Amazing organizations like The Trevor Project have got your back, and I will personally continue to advocate for you and celebrate you always.

“No matter what you’re going through, your life matters so much — don’t let anyone try to dim your light.”

“Growing up queer and Black in a religious household, I faced a lot of challenges trying to understand my identity and where I fit in as someone who always felt beyond the binary,” Monáe said.

“We, as LGBTQ folks, as people of color, are a powerful and unstoppable community,” she said. “I want every young queer person out there to know that I see you, you are beautiful in all of your forms, and you are never, ever alone in this world.

Throughout their career, Monáe has demonstrated a commitment to raising awareness around issues facing marginalized communities, including suicide prevention.

In 2019, Monáe took to Twitter in 2019 to spark discourse around LGBTQ mental health.

“I wanna have a real discussion around bullies (kids and adults) who bully kids/people because of their sexuality. Bullying leads to kids & adults in the LGBTQIA (community) falling into depression & committing suicide in many instances. What should the repercussions be for bullying?”

The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, and nearly 1 in 5 trans and nonbinary youth attempted suicide. Also, 79% of LGBTQ youth reported that seeing musicians come out as LGBTQ made them feel good about their own identity, the report said.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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