Mental Health, Substance Use, and Service Needs, Access, and Delivery among Two-Spirit, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men in Manitoba

Souleymanov, Roustam | $175,000

Manitoba University of Manitoba 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

Very little is currently known about the impacts of COVID‑19 on the mental health, substance use, and health care access of Two-Spirit, gay, bisexual, queer, and other men who have sex with men (2SGBQM) in Manitoba. We propose a mixed-methods community-based research study to respond to current, pressing knowledge gaps concerning the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on 2SGBQM in Manitoba. We will explore the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic on 2SGBQM (with a focus on marginalized 2SGBQM) in Manitoba, including how COVID‑19 impacts their mental health, substance use outcomes, sexual behaviours, and access to healthcare and other services. Our project will investigate the effects of healthcare system transformations and altered service delivery in response to COVID‑19 on both service providers and the 2SGBQM receiving addictions/substance use and mental health care in Manitoba. To accomplish these objectives, we will first use an online survey to gather data on demographics, health and social disparities, and impacts of COVID‑19 on mental health, substance use, and healthcare/service access among a sample of 2SGBQM (n=350) in Manitoba. Next, we will conduct interviews with 2SGBQM (n=30) and service providers (n=10) to offer a more contextualized understanding of the survey findings. We will initiate a training program called ‘Investigaytors’ within this study to provide an integrated approach to knowledge translation and exchange on this project, and to build capacity among young 2SGBQM leaders in Manitoba. Our proposed research will be the first study of COVID‑19 impacts among 2SGBQM in a Prairie province. The data from this study will contribute important new information regarding the impacts of COVID‑19 on 2SGBQM, and inform pandemic intervention preparedness in Manitoba. This study will also inform mental health and substance use/harm reduction services, enhance mental health assessments, and improve virtual healthcare delivery for 2SGBQM in Manitoba.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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