New suicide prevention guidelines to protect LGBTQA+ youth | OUTInPerth

Researchers led by the Telethon Kids Institute have developed Australia’s first comprehensive guidelines for clinical and community services supporting LGBTQA+ young people at risk of suicide.

This article contains a discussion of suicide prevention strategies.

The guidelines are aimed at health professionals, community service providers and all organizations that have regular contact with young people, including teachers and the police.

More than a quarter (25.6%) of LGBTQA+ youth (ages 16 and 17) have attempted suicide in their lifetime, almost five times the rate reported in the general population (5.3% ). Statistics show a clear need for more support and resources.

The comprehensive guidelines were developed with input from clinical and community service professionals as well as young LGBTQA+ people who have experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

They were also developed with significant input from researchers at Orygen, the University of Western Australia and WA’s Child and Adolescent Health Service.

The guidelines are made up of 290 clear recommendations, covering areas such as general principles of inclusive practice, assessment and support of young people who are having suicidal thoughts, and advocacy.

The new resource also provides recommendations and considerations for specific groups of young LGBTQA+ people with intersecting identities.

Co-head of youth mental health research at the Telethon Kids Institute and lead researcher on the guidelines, Dr Yael Perry spoke to OUTinPerth about the development of the new guidelines and how they will be promoted.

What was the impetus to launch this project?

There is ample evidence that LGBTQA+ youth have higher rates of mental health issues and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Obviously that’s not everyone, we know a lot of LGBTQA+ youth have very happy and fulfilling lives, but compared to the general youth population, rates of attempted suicide are five times higher than the general population.

We know this is largely due to things like stigma and discrimination, but it’s also compounded by insufficient access to safe, informed and responsive health care, and that’s something we can do.

You worked with young people to develop these guidelines, what kind of input did they have? What did they bring to the table?

This is a well-established research method called the Delphi consensus method. Basically what we do is go into the empirical literature, and we pull all the recommendations for suicide prevention in this population from the literature. So everything is based on evidence.

Then we present the recommendations to panels of experts. So we had a panel of young LGBTQA+ people who have experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and professionals who either work with young people or researchers who have expertise in this area.

It is therefore their job to review all these recommendations and approve them as important or not important. And we only include in the guidelines those that are approved by both panels as essential or important. Then people can also give us feedback, so the young people gave us very good feedback.

We’d have some simple recommendations, like it’s important to show signs of inclusivity like pride flags and that sort of thing, and we’d have comments that would say, “Yeah, it’s important, but it’s not sufficient.

In fact, if you’re showing a pride flag and you don’t have the training and skills to work properly with this population, then that’s dishonest. So show your pride flag, but make sure it’s backed by real understanding and skill.

There are 290 recommendations, which at first seems like a lot, but what kind of things are included?

It is divided into different sections and some sections will be more relevant to certain clinical professionals and others would be more relevant to community professionals.

The first section is just general principles for creating an inclusive environment, and that’s going to be relevant to almost anyone who works with young people, statistically, if you work with young people, you’re working with gay young people. It is therefore a question of creating an environment that is welcoming and recognizes all kinds of identities.

It covers things about communication intake forms, posters, the way you talk to people, offering gender-neutral bathrooms, that sort of thing.

The other sections are a little more specific, the second section focuses on assessing suicide risk and responding to young people who express suicidal thoughts.

The third section focuses on considerations for a specific population. So young people who are also neurodiverse, and people who are also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and there is also a specific section on the needs of trans youth.

Then the last section is about advocacy, and we got some strong messages that you can’t really create an inclusive environment unless you’re also actively advocating for the community. It’s a smaller section, but there are some key recommendations on how you can promote inclusivity and affirm care in the environment you work in.

These resources are focused on young LGBTQA+ people, but we are also hearing about stigma and discrimination affecting older members of the community – especially in healthcare settings – do you think these guidelines will also have a ripple effect ?

Absolutely. Our original intent was very focused on clinical service providers, then when we started looking at the recommendations, we recognized their relevance to community service providers and youth service providers, and health care providers. generals.

We would really like these recommendations and guidelines to be taken up by anyone working in the community at large, as it is important to understand how to provide polite and appropriate care to everyone.

There are specific recommendations for administrative staff and support staff having this type of training and awareness as well, as we know this is often the first point of contact, and people need to feel safe at their first point-of-contact.

Now that we have these recommendations, how are they being disseminated around the world?

We thought about it a lot, because we really wanted it to be a practical tool. So, in addition to the distribution on our networks, we will also do a campaign on social networks.

We are hosting a webinar in a few weeks on August 24 which will provide information on how the guidelines were developed, how we would like to see them used in practice, we have a youth advocate on why they are so important to young people.

They are really easy to find if you just go to the Telethon Kids Institute website and search for suicide prevention guidelines. You can go to the page, download them section by section or as a whole and there is also help for you to implement them in your service.

Download the new Telethon Kids Institute guidelines and register for the next webinar.

Graeme Watson

Do you need help?

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you can get help and advice from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife is a counseling and guidance service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DUMP: [email protected] /
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse people.

safety rope: 13 11 14 /

beyond the blue: 1300 22 4636 /

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Tags: Suicide prevention, Telethon Kids Institute