How calling an LGBTQ teen crisis lifeline inspired this man to become a counselor himself

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is coming to a close, but continuing conversations around suicide may be more crucial than ever. A recent study found that more Americans reported a decline in their mental health amid the pandemic, and rates of depression have tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trevor Project is the largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people in the world. Johnston, an actor who has been volunteering at the organization for four years, opened up to Yahoo Life about when he called into the Trevor Lifeline himself as a teen. “When I was in high school, I was in the process of kind of understanding who I was,” Johnston says. “And through that, I felt that I was really alone.” One night after reaching an emotional breaking point, Johnston says he remembered learning about The Trevor Project in a school assembly. He looked up the number and decided to give the crisis lifeline a call. “I was saying things I’ve never told anyone for the first time, and it was met with Johnston’s call with a Trevor Project counselor that night marked the beginning to a newfound perspective. “I just remember feeling like I can finally be proud of who I am, and live my life knowing that there’s a community that supports me,” he says. After graduating from college, Johnston reconnected with the organization and decided to go through the training to become a volunteer counselor, so he could help teens who call in for support. “I saw volunteering for Trevor as like the final step in my coming out journey,” Johnston explains. “To the point where I can now give back, give that support to other young people who really need it in crisis.”