Mental Health Needs of LGBTQ2S Youth and Young Adults During the COVID‑19 Pandemic

Chaiton, Michael O | $199,000

Ontario Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

Youth and young adult serving organizations are facing numerous challenges meeting the needs of youth during the COVID‑19 pandemic. Many services typically available to youth in crisis have had to close their doors and are no longer accepting new clients, making it especially difficult for youth to access the services and support they rely on. A recent report focused on the youth-serving sector found that sexual and gender minority youth are experiencing ongoing challenges getting their basic needs met, including food and shelter during the COVID‑19 pandemic but little is known about the unmet mental health and substance use needs in these populations. In order to address these gaps, we will leverage an existing cohort of 1500 youth and young adults who identify as LGBTQ2S to understand their specific challenges and unmet mental health and substance use service needs during the COVID‑19 pandemic using a longitudinal approach. We will use an innovative machine learning model on our data to identify complex intersectionalities–the way that multiple individual characteristics influence health and behaviour in ways that are difficult to identify with conventional statistics. Finally, in coordination with Rainbow Services at CAMH, our Youth Advisory Board, and our National Community Advisory Board of stakeholders and community organizations, we will use a design-based method called a design charette to allow 40 youth and young adults, who could be potential clients, design adaptations to existing programs and develop new programs that will help meet the needs of sexual and gender minority youth and young adults during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

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