SPHR researchers are working with schools and young people to understand the impact of anti-homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying programmes on LGBT+ young people’s mental health in England.
In 2020, the Government Equalities Office withdrew funding of £4million for school programmes aimed at tackling HBT-bullying. This decision is likely to lead to negative consequences for LGBT+ young people.
Young people who identify as LGBT+ are more likely to face bullying and social rejection in education settings such as schools. As a result, they are likely to develop poor mental health compared to heterosexual peers. COVID-19 may cause additional concerns for LGBT+ young people as they may not be ‘out’ to their families or live with individuals who are unsupportive of LGBT+ identities.
A small body of international research has shown a direct link between LGBT+ anti-bullying projects and improvements in the mental health of young people who identify as LGBT+. However, this has not been explored in the UK.
Researchers from the School’s public mental health programme and the children, young people and families programme will work with schools to identify programmes with the potential to improve LGBT+ young people’s mental health in England.
The Creating LGBT+ Affirming School Environments (CLASS) research project is investigating the mental health impact on young people of anti-HBT bullying interventions in schools
The research team have identified a number of initiatives which may help to improve young people’s mental health including creating a supportive and inclusive school culture which affirms LGBT+ identities.
The research team now want to find examples of successfully delivered supportive LGBT+ programmes in schools, exploring who they work for, in what context and why.
To do this the team have started working with teachers, young people and practitioners to identify anti-homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic programmes and projects in schools and their impact on pupils’ mental health.
There is a clear need for addressing young LGBT+ people’s mental health given the current difficulties COVID-19 present across the UK. It is hoped the findings from this research project will help generate evidence and impact policy decisions to improve school culture for LGBT+ young people and provide an environment that promotes mental wellbeing in schools in the UK.
You can find out more about the CLASS research project here.
You can get in touch with the research team here.