Lil Nas X honored for talking about suicide, mental health


Lil Nas X knows pain and joy, silence and outspokenness.

The 22-year-old singer and rapper, who rose to fame with his genre-blending, record-breaking hit Old Town Road, came out as gay in 2019, after promising himself he’d “die with the secret.” Since then, he’s offered fans candid glimpses of how he simultaneously experienced meteoric success and depression and suicidal feelings.

That is why The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that serves LGBTQ youth in crisis, decided to give Lil Nas X its inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award. The honor is meant to recognize when someone uses their platform to help normalize conversations about mental health and suicide prevention among LGBTQ young people.

“I often get messages from fans telling me about their struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, and it made me realize that this was something bigger than myself,” Lil Nas X said in a press release provided by The Trevor Project. “If using my voice and expressing myself in my music can help even one kid out there who feels alone, then it was all worth it.”


“If using my voice and expressing myself in my music can help even one kid out there who feels alone, then it was all worth it.”

Earlier this year on TikTok, where Lil Nas X has nearly 20 million followers, he strung together clips of himself smiling, posing, and dancing with captions that hinted at the despair he felt over losing fans after coming out, his mother’s struggles with addiction, and breaking up with his boyfriend. The series of events culminated in a moment where he reflected on ending his life.

“Most of the coverage around Lil Nas X is around his music, his career, sometimes it’s about the things he says online…but we also want to make sure that people are paying attention to his mental health journey,” says Kevin Wong, vice president of communications for The Trevor Project.

“When he posts about his mental health, he’s normalizing conversations that can literally save a life.”

While some may worry that talking about suicide might prompt youth to seriously consider or plan their own death, Wong says that’s a persistent myth. Instead, acknowledging suicidal feelings can make others feel less alone and more open to seeking support or help.

In the song Sun Goes Down, also released this year, he sings about feeling suicidal: “I know that you want to cry / But it’s much more to life than dying / Over your past mistakes / And people who threw dirt on your name.”

The song’s music video portrays a lonely teenage Lil Nas X (née Montero Lamar Hill) grappling with his sexuality. By the end, he’s dancing at his high school prom, encircled by the crowd and smiling widely.

A past Trevor Project survey of LGBTQ youth found that more than 80 percent of respondents said LGBTQ celebrities “positively influence” how they feel about their sexuality and gender identity, Wong explains. With the award, The Trevor Project hopes to reach diverse youth who are Lil Nas X fans but don’t know about the nonprofit’s mental health support and crisis intervention services.

“Living your truth as a celebrity really does make a difference in a LGBTQ’s young person’s life,” says Wong. “It feels empowering to know for yourself, oh, there are other people out there like me. I am not alone.”

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, the Trevor Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. TrevorChat, an online instant messaging tool, can be accessed here. To contact TrevorText, text START to 678-678. Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential support 24/7. Text CRISIS to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET, or email [email protected] Here is a list of international resources.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*