Navigating Mental Health Support as a LGBTQ+ Young Person – A TKT and Centre33 Research Project
What is the project?
The Kite Trust is undertaking a project to explore the barriers, challenges and difficulties that LGBTQ+ young people face when trying to access mental health support. The project will also try to find out some of the things that make it easier for LGBTQ+ young people to get mental health support – these things that make it easier are sometimes called ‘facilitators’. We know that LGBTQ+ young people aren’t always able to access the mental health support they need and want, and believe that LGBTQ+ young people can best explain why this is and what we can do to make this better. Drawing on your experiences and knowledge, we hope we can improve the ways that support is offered and ultimately help LGBTQ+ young people to have better mental health and wellbeing.
Both ‘mental health’ and ‘mental health support’ can mean very different things to different people. We do not have a fixed definition of what these words mean, so please interpret these however you like, depending on what they mean to you.
Who is doing the project?
This project is run by Catt (they/them) who is a youth worker and researcher at The Kite Trust. They have extensive research experience on different topics related to young people’s lives, and have a long history of working with LGBTQ+ young people, both in groups and through providing 1-1 support. They are passionate about making things better for LGBTQ+ young people and want to use this project as a platform for your voices to be heard. Within this project, they will be doing most of the day-to-day work and will act as the main point of contact. You can reach them via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07375068267.
The project has been funded by the Department of Health’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Fund and is being managed by Centre33 and The Kite Trust.
What does it mean to take part in the project? How can I take part?
As well as sharing experiences and knowledge, it’s very important that LGBTQ+ young people have the opportunity to be involved in directing the project. We want to make sure that it answers the questions that are important to LGBTQ+ young people, and is done a way that LGBTQ+ young people think is ethical (does not cause harm) and will be most helpful to you. Taking part in the project is a way to share your views, gain experience and understanding of research, and help make things better for LGBTQ+ young people.
All parts of the project are open to LGBTQ+ young people, including young people who are ace/asexual, intersex, or who are questioning their sexuality or gender. You do not have to have experienced a diagnosed mental health condition or any mental health difficulty to take part.
There are three main ways LGBTQ+ young people can take part in the project:
1) Young people’s steering group (TKT Service Users Only)
If you want to shape what the project looks like, you can join the young people’s steering group for the project. The group will meet every 1-2 months from September 2021 until May 2022, in person and/or online, depending on the needs and preferences of the group. The steering group will discuss the project, give feedback and share ideas, and ensure the project stays in line with LGBTQ+ young people’s needs and priorities. The group’s activities are flexible and will depend on what is valuable to group members and what they think will be best for the project. Activities could include any or all of the following:
- Learning about research (trying to find out the answers to particular questions, usually done by specially trained people called researchers) and research methods (the ways researchers try to answer their research questions, often by asking people to talk about their views or experiences on a particular topic);
- Helping work out the research questions this project should address;
- Developing research methods for the project;
- Supporting data analysis (looking at what has been said by young people in the project and working out what it might mean);
- Being involved in developing recommendations for professionals;
- Being involved in sharing the findings of the research (telling people what we have found);
- Other activities suggested by the young people’s steering group.
For in-person meetings, travel expenses will be reimbursed and snacks will be provided. You will also receive a £15 payment or voucher for each meeting to thank you for your time and input. If you are receiving benefits (e.g. Universal Credit), we can discuss beforehand how to ensure that this payment does not interfere with your benefits.
The steering group is open to LGBTQ+ young people aged 13-25. To join the steering group, you must already be accessing, or have previously accessed, services at The Kite Trust (e.g. youth groups, trips or 1:1 support). If you are not sure whether this applies to you, please contact Catt or another member of staff at The Kite Trust. If you are interested in joining the steering group or have any questions, please contact Catt or another member of TKT staff.
2) Activities in youth group sessions (TKT Service Users Only)
If you want to contribute to the project through your usual youth group sessions, you can take part in activities relating to the project during youth group sessions at The Kite Trust. These might include things like discussions about mental health, trying out some of the research activities, or doing some creative activities relating to the project’s themes and findings. The activities will be facilitated by Catt but guided by you, so if you have views or suggestions please share them. These activities will take place at TKT youth group sessions in autumn and winter 2021, and possibly in early 2022 as well. They will be open to whoever is attending the youth group session. You can choose on the day if you want to join in with the activities.
If you would like to be told in advance the sessions when these activities are taking place, please contact Catt. If you would like to take part in these activities but cannot attend TKT youth group sessions then please contact Catt as there may be other ways to take part.
3) Research sessions
If you want to share your views, you can take part in research sessions in November 2021 at a time that is convenient to you, online or in-person. In a research session, you will spend some time either 1:1 with Catt or in a small group with Catt and some other young people. These could be people you do or don’t know, depending what you’d prefer and who else is taking part. In these sessions you will be asked about your views and experiences of accessing mental health support, the barriers that LGBTQ+ young people face, things that make it easier for LGBTQ+ young people to access support, and how things could be improved. In these research sessions you will be invited to share your views and talk about your own experiences, but you will never have to talk about anything you don’t want to. There will be optional creative activities in these sessions, the sessions will be relaxed and informal, and you’ll be able to take breaks or end the session any time you want to.
Each research session will take 30-60 minutes. If you take part in a research session you will receive a £15 payment or voucher to say thank you for your time and input. If you are receiving benefits (e.g. Universal Credit), we can discuss beforehand how to ensure that this payment does not interfere with your benefits.
The research sessions are open to LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 who live, work, attend education or access health services in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough. You do not need to have accessed formal or informal mental health support, or have accessed The Kite Trust services, to take part in the research sessions. If you know LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough then please feel free to pass on this opportunity to them.
If you are interested in taking part in the research sessions or have any questions, please contact Catt or another member of TKT staff.
What will happen after I take part in the project? Will anyone know I have taken part or what I have said?
Views and experiences shared as part of the project will be anonymised (name and identifying information removed) and analysed by Catt with the support of the young people’s steering group. This will then be used to write a report that will be available publicly. Quotes from the research sessions may be used in the project report and in other publications and artwork relating to the project, such as zines or drawings.
Everything shared as part of the project will be anonymised before it is analysed, used in the project report, or shared in any other way. Nothing you tell us through taking part in the project will be share outside The Kite Trust unless we believe you or someone else is in danger. If this is the case, we may need to speak to someone about what you have told us. If this happens, we will always try to talk to you first and do this in the way that fits with your wishes.
Catt and The Kite Trust will not tell anyone you have taken part in the project unless you would like this information to be shared. However, if you are part of the young people’s steering group or take part in research in other ways, you can have your name included in the project report if you would like.