New online mental health program for gay youth launched
A mental health program specifically designed for same-sex attracted youth has been developed and is now being trialled online.
Out & Online has been funded by beyondblue and was put together by a team of researchers from Swinburne University of Technology, Federation University Australia and Deakin University after consultation with mental health experts and same-sex attracted youth.
It's hoped that having the resources online will assist young adults, particularly from rural or isolated areas, get the help they need.
“Research has shown that same-gender attracted young adults experience higher rates of mental health problems when compared to their opposite-gender attracted peers," Dr Jo Abbott from the National eTherapy Centre (NeTC) at Swinburne, said in a statement.
“This has been strongly linked to experiences of discrimination resulting from homophobic attitudes present within the wider community.
"These problems are intensified for gay and lesbian youth living in rural areas, where access to relevant information, resources and services can be even more challenging.”
This is the first program of its kind to focus entirely on the needs of same-sex attracted youth aged 18-25 and at the moment is undergoing a research trial. Feedback from the trial will be used to improve the program.
“We want to continue to improve the program over time so it is shaped by the people who use it,” Abbott explained.
The program is available free of charge and as it is developed further it will become more widely available as part of Swinburne University’s online mental health clinic, Mental Health Online.
Young adults 18-25 years who are same-gender attracted can participate in the research trial by registering on the program website www.outandonline.org.au
For more information, check out facebook.com/outandonline
If you or someone you know needs support, mental health professionals are available 24/7 at the beyondblue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or via www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for email or online chat (3pm till midnight).