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Supporting LGBT Lives in Ireland: A Study of Mental Health and Well-Being

Research Staff

Dr. Paula Mayock (PI)

About the Project

This project was commissioned by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network GLEN and BeLonG To Youth Project and was funded by the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

What did the research focus on?

The aims of the study were:

  • To review the evidence for suicidal behaviour including deliberate self harm among LGBT people in Ireland with special emphasis on young people.
  • To identify experiences that heighten vulnerability to suicidal behaviour among LGBT people in Ireland with special emphasis on young people.
  • To identify the factors which strngthen resilienec in the lives of LGBT people.
  • To determine the extent to which services and supports have been put in place for LGBT people, around the issues of suicide, mental health and well-being.
  • To determine the current service implications in relation to suicide prevention for LGBT people.
  • To identify and recommend good practice in suicide prevention and mental health promotion in caring for members of the LGBT population who might be at risk of suicidal behaviour.

What did the research involve?

The aims of the project were be achieved through a mix of quantitaitve and qualitative methods:

  • An On-line survey was administrered to capture the experiences of LGBT individuals. This survey included measures to determine rates and correlates of mental health functioning among members of the LGBT population living in Ireland, including history of attempted suicide.
  • A Community Assessment Process, involving the conduct of interviews with key informants at government, national and service levels was undertaken. This exercise aimed to access the views of professionals who have either direct or indirect responsibility for the provision of social and health services to LGBT people and young people. It also facilitated entree to field sites for the purpose of recruiting adults and young people for individual in-depth interview.
  • In-depth interviews were conducted with approximately 30 LGBT adults and young people. In a general sense, the interview focused on the 'life' storeis of LGBT people. Specific interview topics and questions targeted experiences that have been challenging, difficult or stressful (e.g. experiences of discrimination, homophobic bullying, stress associated with 'coming out' to family and peers). Questions also focused directly on respondents' experience of depression, anxiety and loneliness and their substance (alcohol and drugs) use behaviour. Other sections of the interview focused strongly on positive experiences and protective 'factors'.

A Community Mapping Process documented the range of primary health care, mental health, social, educational and community -based services that specifically target and/or cater for the needs of LGBT people nationally. This exercise was guided and supported by information already collated by the Health Service Executive.

Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of the Mental Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people (PDF 1,461 kB)

Last updated 6 April 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).