Chicago — Recording artist Lil Nas X was recently recognized as Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year by the Trevor Project.
The award comes amid National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and marked the group’s first time giving out such an honor, according to USA Today. Lil Nas X spoke on TikTok in February about his depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation and has stood up for LGBTQ rights in outspoken music videos and tweets.
"(Lil Nas X's) vulnerability in his journey to self acceptance and expression has created space for candid conversations around mental health and sexual identity, signaling to LGBTQ youth that they are not alone," Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, said in a statement.
The organization, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth, found that 42% of those individuals seriously considered attempting suicide this year. However, more than 80% say queer celebrities positively influence their feelings around their identity.
"Discrimination around sexuality and gender identity is still very real, and our community deserves to feel supported and totally free to be themselves," Lil Nas X said in a statement. "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. 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.”
Lil Nas X, who’s real name is Montero Lamar Hill, wrote a letter to his 14-year-old self with the release of his single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” earlier this year.
"I know we promised to die with the secret, but this will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist," the letter read.
In his video for “Sun Goes Down” the artist is depicted healing a younger version of himself while considering suicide and having a tough time figuring out his sexuality.
His debut album “Montero” is scheduled for release Sept. 17.