Understanding and Promoting the Social and Emotional Well-being and Mental Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ Young People

There is no academic literature on the social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) and mental health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) young people in Australia. This is despite the fact that both identities are associated with exposure to risk factors associated with SEWB and mental health difficulties. Our knowledge of the interaction between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQ and youth identities, and how this intersection affects wellbeing, remains very poor. The primary objective of this project is to better understand how the interstice of Indigenous, LBGTIQ and youth identities impacts upon the SEWB and mental health of this group to enable the development of tailored interventions to effectively support these young people. The project will be conducted across Perth, Sydney and Darwin sites in three phases, each of which will inform the content of subsequent phases. Phase 1 will comprise of focus groups and in-depth narrative interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ young people aged 14-25 years to better understand their experiences of the intersection of identities and the impact upon SEWB. Phase 2 will be an online survey to quantitatively index mental wellbeing, exposure to risk and protective factors, experiences of health services and intervention preferences. Phase 3 will involve the co-design of one or more interventions based on the specified needs of this population. Although the nature of the interventions will be determined by prior phases, they may target the individual, community or wider sectors. The primary outcome of this project will be one or more co-designed interventions providing a roadmap for increasing the SEWB and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ youth, based on their specific needs and experiences.

Researchers: Associate Professor Karen Soldatic (ICS), Dr Ashleigh Lin (Telethon Kids Institute), Mr Braden Hill (Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre), Ms Bep Uink (Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre), Dr Yael Perry (Telethon Kids Institute), Professor Linda Briskman (Western Sydney University)

Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council (via University of Western Australia/Telethon Kids Institute)

Period: 2019–2021