Rome man’s sui­cide high­lights LGBT men­tal health dis­par­i­ties

Higher lev­els of de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety in LGBT com­mu­nity

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

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

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