Authors: Strauss, P., Cook, A., Winter, S., Watson, V., Wright Toussaint, D., Lin, A.
Date of publication: 2017
Publisher: Telethon Kids Institute (Perth, Australia)
Summary: Trans Pathways is the largest study ever conducted of the mental health and care pathways of gender diverse young people in Australia (859 participants). It is also the first Australian study to incorporate the views of parents and guardians of trans young people (194 participants). Trans Pathways showed that gender diverse young people are at very high risk for poor mental health, self-harming and suicide attempts. Around 3 in every 4 gender diverse young people reported experiencing anxiety or depression. Four out of 5 gender diverse young people had ever engaged in self-harm, and almost 1 in 2 gender diverse young people had ever attempted suicide (48%).
Gender diverse young people found it difficult to access health services with 60% feeling isolated from medical and mental health services, and 42% having reached out to a service provider who did not understand or respect their gender identity. Problems with health services included a lack of education about gender diversity, not knowing where to refer gender diverse clients, and transphobia. Many gender diverse young people had experienced negative situations that affected their mental health such as peer rejection, bullying, issues with school, university or TAFE, and a lack of family support. Participants reported using music and art, peers and friends, activism, social media and pets to make themselves feel better and take care of the mental wellbeing. Trans Pathways included a list of recommendations for governments and health providers, as well as guidance for schools, parents, peers and gender diverse young people.
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