To be able to participate, individuals should be: 18 years old or older;Resident of Canada;Identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer;able to read and complete a survey in English or French.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (LGBTQ) are subjected to societal stigma and as such experience elevated rate of mental health struggles as compared to the general population. For example, 15-25% of Canadian LGB adults and 61% of transgender adults report depression, compared with 7% of heterosexual and cisgender adults. Meanwhile, if depression goes untreated, some individuals will turn to suicide: LGB adults are four times more likely than heterosexuals to attempt suicide in their lifetime (17% vs. 4%)8-9 while the prevalence of lifetime suicide attempts is between 22% to 43% for transgender people.
In spite of the large burden of depression and suicide among LGBTQ people, few LGBTQ-specific mental health resources are available in Canada. Furthermore, LGBTQ are more likely than heterosexuals to have unmet mental health care needs. Limits to LGBTQ-tailored resources are compounded by a general scarcity in accessible and affordable mental health services. Fewer than half of Canadians with depression receive any form of healthcare attention (whether by general practitioner or specialist), with wide variation by severity, age, education, and other social characteristics.
A major challenge in improving mental health is the lack of knowledge from those affected of what can be done to prevent mental health disorders and how they can be treated. Indeed, mental health literacy – which is define as “knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or prevention” – is a critical determinants of mental health and a requisite to effective mental health promotion but remain low in the general population. Mental health literacy has many components, including (a) knowledge of how to prevent mental disorders, (b) recognition of when a disorder is developing, (c) knowledge of help-seeking options and treatments available, (d) knowledge of effective self-help strategies for milder problems, and (e) first aid skills to support others who are developing a mental disorder or are in a mental health crisis.
Closely related to mental health literacy is the concept of mental health stigma. Inadequate knowledge is not the only factor limiting help seeking for mental health, negative attitudes are important as well. Such negative attitudes can involve self-stigma, in which a person has internalized the negative attitudes held by society and applied these to themselves, or it can be perceived stigma which involves the belief that others hold stigmatizing attitudes. Both of these are widespread and reduce the likelihood of a person who suffering from a mental health disorder to seek professional help.
Despite the burden of mental health disorders among LGBTQ people there is a paucity of research that examines mental health literacy among LGBTQ people. An initial search within Psychinfo and PubMed yielded only one article that explicitly explored mental health literacy among LGBTQ individuals. This study conducted in Switzerland focused solely on gay men and depression literary but found numerous specificities in mental health literacy among gay men which warrant further investigations.
The fact that the mental health literacy of LGBTQ people remains largely unknown challenges the development of interventions to increase mental health literacy in this population, particularly in the context where practitioners and health promoters often assume that LGBTQ people have high health literacy levels.
The purpose of this research project is to describe depression and suicide literacy among Canadian LGBT adults as a means to stimulate targeted interventions.
The specific study objectives are to:
1) Describe depression and suicide literacy (knowledge and skills) of LGBTQ adults
2) Understand the relationships between mental health stigma and literacy among LGBTQ adults;
3) Explore how literacy varies across LGBT adults due to intersecting identities.
How will this research help LGBT people and communities?
We are doing this survey to learn about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults' knowledge, attitudes and experiences with mental health. The results from this survey will be shared with community organizations and public health agencies to plan programs for improving mental health.
Each participant will have the opportunity to be entered into a draw for a $300 gift card at amazon.ca
Name: Olivier Ferlatte
Olivier Ferlatte and John Oliffe
School of Nursing (UBC)