Rome man’s suicide highlights LGBT mental health disparities
Higher levels of depression, anxiety in LGBT community
By MARY LYNN RITCH
One Wednesday this past September, Andrew David Smith asked his best friend Tyler Morgan if he could borrow $30.00. Morgan told him he didn’t have the money, drove him around, and dropped him off at Smith’s grandmother’s house where he lived.
“He gave me the longest hug ever,” Morgan said, “I should have known what he was going to do.”
Smith then received a phone call that his grandmother answered. When the caller wanted to speak with Smith, he spoke calmly. That was his last phone call.
“His grandmother said she saw him walk by a window through the yard,” Morgan said, “and that was the last time she saw him.”
Six days later Andrew was found. He took his own life. He was 32 years old.
Friends recall Smith’s creativity, sense of humor
According to John R. Ballew, a licensed professional counselor in Atlanta, Andrew Smith’s case is certainly not uncommon.
“Depression and anxiety strike LGBT people much more frequently than the general population,” he said. “That is thought to reflect the stress and intolerance many LGBT people experience.”
That intolerance was a part of Smith’s life as he wrote in a Facebook post seven months before taking his life.
“Just left an AA meeting after being discriminated against ... I thought of all places, they would be open minded and accepting,” he wrote. People in his AA group made homophobic comments about Smith and his then-partner, as Smith explained in ensuing comments under the post.
LGBT people more susceptible to suicide