In commemoration of Pride Month this year, Australian Rotary Health are highlighting a research publication they funded that has designed an intervention that hopes to improve the mental health of young LGBTIQ+ Australians.
With 63.8% of LGBTIQ+ individuals aged 14 to 21 having been diagnosed with a mental health condition in 2021, LGBTIQ+ youth illustrate a substantially increased risk of mental illness compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. This is due to many factors, including the still prevalent stigma, discrimination and marginalisation of LGBTIQ+ identities.
Dr Amy Finlay-Jones lead the research, aiming to determine whether online self-compassion training would be effective in improving the mental health of LGBTIQ+ youth. The proposed program would borrow elements from other self-compassion interventions, such as Mindful Self-Compassion Training, Compassion Cultivation Training and Compassion Focused Therapy.
The research outlines the Self-Compassion Training that would be conducted. It would be an 8-week group program that is designed to cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion through a combination of exercises ranging from meditation to group interactions. Though such a program was designed to occur through video conferencing software, due to the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions, the program is arguably more accessible as a virtual program for LGBTIQ+ youth since such populations are often engaged with online spaces.
The publication elaborated that if such a program was found to be effective, it would be scalable and cost-effective, due to its accessibility of being virtual. Furthermore, LGBTIQ+ individuals with high self-compassion reported more positive identity and happiness, less self-stigma and lower suicidality than those with low self-compassion; hence, Dr Finlay-Jones rationalises such an intervention to be an effective way in targeting the young LGBTIQ+ Australians.
“I am particularly interested in interventions that support well-being and resilience,” stated Dr Finlay-Jones. “And I am compelled by the potential for mindfulness- and compassion-based interventions to promote these outcomes.”
Media contact: Alexander Galati – email@example.com
First published 28th June 2022