SAN FRANCISCO – As the Covid-19 pandemic stretches for another year, the toll on children, youth and families has increased.
Last month, leading national child and adolescent medical groups designated a national emergency for child and adolescent mental health in response to rising rates of mental health issues that disproportionately impact communities of color and call for trauma-informed services to reduce risk and support family resilience.
The impact on LGBTQ youth has been significant. Research spanning several years has documented high levels of risk for suicide, substance abuse, depression and homelessness for LGBTQ youth, linked to social stigma.
Before the pandemic, LGBTQ youth were 4 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-LGBTQ peers. During the pandemic, stress, suicide attempts and emergency room visits exploded for children and youth, overall.
Of particular concern, the lack of services for families with LGBTQ children is an ongoing problem and a major gap in prevention and care for a variety of LGBTQ children, youth and families nationwide. This has become more urgent given the young age when children and adolescents identify as LGBTQ today – increasingly in childhood and pre-adolescence – due to widespread access to information. and positive images of LGBTQ life, inconceivable for previous generations of LGBTQ. people who came out as adults and often led closed lives.
âThe work of the Family Acceptance Project provides essential information to help parents and caregivers learn to support their LGBTQ children and help young people and families access the resources they urgently need,â said Dr Christine. Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. .
âTheir research has shown that when adults learn and demonstrate specific supportive behaviors at home and in the community, LGBTQ youth not only feel more connected, but their health outcomes, including the risk of suicide, can be improved. A critical part of FAP’s work is to provide evidence-based counseling to reduce family rejection and increase acceptance in culturally and linguistically relevant ways, âshe added.
Historically, services for LGBTQ youth have been provided to LGBTQ youth alone, such as adults, or through peer support, as parents and families were seen as rejectionist and unable to learn to support their LGBTQ children. .
The perception that parents and caregivers are unable to learn to support their LGBTQ children – especially in culturally and religiously conservative families – has hampered the development of family care and services to help diverse families learn to support their children. LGBTQ.
Twenty years ago, when the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) launched the first research on LGBTQ youth and families, when conflict erupted, LGBTQ youth were systematically taken from their homes and detained because providers did not believe that it was possible to increase the number of Support families. Additionally, providers saw their role as protecting LGBTQ youth from their families, not promoting family ties.
This perception began to change as the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) has started publishing the first research on LGBTQ youth and families and has shown that families play a critical role in contributing to health risks, including suicidal behavior, and helping to protect against risks and promote well-being.
FAP research has identified more than 100 specific family behaviors of rejection and acceptance that increase the risk of suicide, depression, drug use, HIV and other health risks and promote well-being. These behaviors form a basis for the FAP behavior-based family support model that helps diverse families learn to support their LGBTQ children within the context of their families, cultures and religious traditions – even when they think they are gay. or transgender is wrong.
Recognizing the growing adolescent mental health crisis among youth of color and LGBTQ youth, the Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health, a collaborative fund powered by Panorama, was launched in 2020 to provide resources for frontline services and to support organizations working to transform mental health care systems.
Supported by this fund, the Family Acceptance Project with collaborative partners and cultural leaders is launching for the first time a new national online resource that provides access to accurate information and positive services to increase family and community support for children and to LGBTQ youth to help reduce mental disorders. health risks and promote well-being.
This new website – which is the first targeted resource for LGBTQ youth and families – includes a searchable national map of community support services that affirm LGBTQ youth and help increase family support, as well as multilingual and multicultural factual resources. to increase family support for LGBTQ children and youth.
Resources accessible through the new online site include: support services for LGBTQ youth; peer support for parents, caregivers and families; LGBTQ community centers; LGBTQ health clinics; gender clinics; tutoring; affirm faith-based organizations and resources; and a national list of cultural resources for ethnically and racially diverse LGBTQ communities.
Cultural leaders and community members from diverse backgrounds have helped FAP develop culturally-based educational resources for families, youth, providers and religious leaders that show how specific family behaviors of rejection and acceptance affect the risk and well-being of LGBTQ children and adolescents in 11 languages ââwith a specific version for Native American families and communities.
This new web resource will provide a series of webinars and family counseling material ranging from integrating FAP’s family support model into trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy to counseling from Asian parents on supporting their transgender children. . The website will be updated as new resources are added.
The Family Acceptance Project is a research, intervention, education, and policy initiative affiliated with San Francisco State University designed to:
1) prevent risks, including suicide, substance abuse and homelessness, and promote the well-being of LGBTQ children and adolescents within the context of their families, cultures and religious communities; and 2) implement and disseminate the first research-based family model of wellness, prevention and care to build a healthy future for LGBTQ children and youth.
For more information on the Family Acceptance Project, visit: https://familyproject.sfsu.edu/
For more information on the Institute for Innovation and Implementation, visit: https://theinstitute.umaryland.edu/