experience significant mental health inequalities in comparison with their peers. School environment is a major risk factor and is consistently associated with negative mental health for LGBTQ+ young people, as shown in research here, here and here. The UN Convention for the Rights of Child Committee has also specifically emphasised the need to take effective action to protect LGBTQ+ young people from all forms of violence, discrimination or bullying, and to improve mental health.
Our Creating LGBTQ+ Affirming School Environments (CLASS) research project aimed to investigate the impact of school-based interventions (schemes or initiatives) on the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people. In the first stage of our study, we reviewed published evidence, and identified positive interventions that supported LGBTQ+ mental health in school, however the focus tended to be on the outcomes rather than detailing how they were done.
We also interviewed 10 young people aged between 13 and 18 years, nine practitioners (e.g. people working in organisations who had delivered LGBTQ+ inclusivity interventions in UK schools), and three members of school staff, and analysed the data to identify interventions that improved mental health. We used this information to develop a theory model that aimed to explain how, why, for who, and in what context school-based interventions can prevent or reduce mental health problems in LGBTQ+ young people, in collaboration with these key stakeholders.
|McDermott, E. et al. Understanding How School-Based Interventions Can Tackle LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health Inequality: |
A Realist Approach. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20, 4274. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20054274
- Interventions that promote LGBTQ+ visibility and ‘usualise’ the presence of LGBTQ+ identities, school belonging, and recognition.
- Interventions for talking and support that develop safety and coping.
- Interventions that address institutional school culture (staff training and inclusion polices) that foster school belonging, empowerment, recognition, and safety.
Read the full research paper here: Understanding How School-Based Interventions Can Tackle LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health Inequality: A Realist Approach, 28/02/23