An introduction to this Emerging Minds funded project by the lead researchers, Dr Hazel Marzetti (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Catt Turney (The Kite Trust/Off the Record Bristol)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) young people are more likely than their cisgender, heterosexual peers to experience mental health problems, yet LGBTQ+ young people frequently do not receive adequate support with their mental health and wellbeing. Although support services may be informed by research, and vital work to support LGBTQ+ young people is taking place across sectors, there is often a communication gap between research, policy and practice.
The LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health Gathering on Tuesday 13 October 2022 aims to bridge this gap.
Building on existing networks developed through the Grow programme and work across research and the voluntary sector, this event will bring together practitioners and researchers from across sectors to showcase their research and best practice; network; discuss key challenges and questions in this area; and provide mutual support and advice. We also hope that this event will facilitate ongoing communication and knowledge exchange, supporting those attending to continue working as a cross-sector network following the event. The LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health Gathering will therefore be a vital first step in addressing the communication gap between practitioners and researchers, and aims to improve evidence-based practice in the area of LGBTQ+ youth mental health.
The event will be completely online to try and maximise its reach and allow for a wide range of people to attend. It is anticipated that the event will take place during an afternoon and evening to allow participants to attend alongside other commitments.
The event will include a session focused on developing plans to build on this initial event through further activities, which may include further sharing/knowledge exchange sessions, funding bids or collaborative writing.
Catt and Hazel have already identified potential funding sources for future activities and have identified potential collaborators, but would welcome interest from other potential collaborators – get in touch using the contact details below. We anticipate that in addition to its value as a standalone event, this event will be the first step in ultimately facilitating the creation of an interdisciplinary network.
About the Researchers
Hazel and Catt applied for funding for this event after participating in the 2021-2022 Emerging Minds Grow programme. This programme highlighted to both applicants the key challenges of multisectoral working, and allowed us to bring together our shared experience as researchers and practitioners to develop potential approaches to addressing these challenges. This funding will help us to begin to build bridges by creating time and space in which policy makers, practitioners, researchers and the public can come together, share their work and network. It has also provided a valuable opportunity to collaboratively plan and lead on this project, building on the leadership skills and networks developed through the programme.
Following the event, Dr Hazel Marzetti shared the key messages behind the research findings.
We did not produce research as our funded activity was a networking event. However, following discussion during the event, and notes made on the collaborative Google Jamboard, where attendees shared what they wanted from the LGBTQ+ youth mental health network, key messages were that people wanted:
More spaces to come together, learn from one another and share;
Supportive environments to share and address challenges; learning from one another. It was noted during the event that this is particularly valuable given the emotionally challenging nature of this work, and the fact that many undertaking work in the area of LGBTQ+ youth mental health have their own lived experience of mental health difficulties and/or connections to LGBTQ+ communities, which can make working in this area particularly challenging.
People wanted ways of crossing the ‘research/practice’ divide: researchers would like opportunities to collaborate with partners outside universities (e.g. voluntary sector or community organisations and community members with relevant lived experience ) and to work with those outside universities to help their research have a greater impact on LGBTQ+ young people. Practitioners and community members wanted greater access to research and research findings that could support their work and/or help them access funding to continue or develop their work further.
People also wanted LGBTQ+ specialist organisations and mental health specialist organisations to be able to connect with other organisations that were not currently working on LGBTQ+ mental health but wanted to.
Our January meeting will begin to address these needs, and provide space for ongoing discussion and collaboration, with the aim that the priorities and direction of the network can continue to develop over time.
Document: LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health Gathering – Full programme
Google Document Links: Youth Mental Health Gathering – Presentation slides