By Peter Haskell

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Experts on suicide among gay youth held a conference in New Jersey this week to discuss preventative actions that may help teens.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

Dr. Caitlyn Ryan, who was a keynote speaker at the conference, said it isn’t just about full acceptance and endorsement.

“Any family can tell their child they love them. They can sit with them and talk to them about their identity even if they’re uncomfortable about it,” she said.

If families of gay teenagers show even a minimal amount of acceptance and understanding, Ryan said they can prevent a suicide.

She’s identified and measured more than 100 behaviors used by parents that can lead to a host of problems ranging from depression to suicide.

“And so now we can actually show that we’ve linked family acceptance and rejection to more than 100 types of common behaviors like trying to change your child’s sexual orientation or gender identity, trying to prevent them from trying to learn about who they are,” she said.

Ryan said teens who feel loved and understood are less likely to be depressed, engage in risky behavior, or attempt suicide.

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