Menu

Universal School Interventions: improving the mental health of young LGBTQ+ people

What is this project?

The McPin Young People’s Network are teaming up with a researcher at UCL who is doing some research about young LGBTQ+ people’s mental health.

This project aims to find out how universal school interventions can improve their mental health. An intervention is an action taken to improve something. Universal school interventions are things that are put in place for everyone in a school. In other words, these interventions are not just targeted at LGBTQ+ young people – they are aimed at encouraging people in the whole school to be more accepting of diverse sexual and gender identities.

Examples of these interventions could include school-wide LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination and bullying policies, inclusive curriculums, and video campaigns. This project will do some research into what interventions already exist in schools. It will look at how and who they work for by carrying out a literature review.

This is part of the Wellcome Trust Active ingredients commissions of 2021.

Why is this research important?

Research has shown that young LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience depression and anxiety than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. In schools, LGBTQ+ students are also more likely to experience bullying, discrimination, unsafety, exclusion and marginalisation, all of which are can increase someone’s chances of having depression and anxiety.

During a previous project that members of the McPin Young People’s Network were involved with, they found that a school environment that is inclusive and accepting of diverse sexual and gender identities can be good for the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people. Therefore, this research could answer questions about what makes these interventions work so well and how to make them even better. In the long term, this could help prevent mental health problems that some LGBTQ+ people experience.

How are McPin and people affected by mental health problems involved? 

The McPin Foundation are running the involvement in the project.  We will be working with a Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) who will advise on the project, drawing from their lived experiences to shape the project and providing critical feedback.

As well as the input of the YPAG, there will also be a young co-researcher on the project who will be working alongside the research team to support the literature review.

What is the current status of the project?

We have met with the YPAG and are in the finishing stages of this project.

The young people have fed into this project in a number of ways, including: reviewing the current research surrounding school interventions; advising on which interventions they thought were effective for promoting diversity and acceptance in schools – for example, some of the interventions included more inclusive curriculums; and introducing more accepting school policies and Gay-Straight Alliances.

These were informed by pre-existing interventions and the contribution of the young people. Currently, we are developing a video and infographic for young audiences to shed light on our findings. These will be shared publicly soon.

Where can I find more information?

For more information about the public involvement within this project, you can get in contact via email: davinobeckford@mcpin.org.