Improving mental health among transgender, gender diverse, and non-binary adolescents

Transgender, gender diverse, and non-binary (TGDNB) people are those whose gender identity differs from their birth-assigned sex. TGDNB people have poor mental health outcomes, including higher than expected rates of psychopathology, distress, and suicidality (e.g. 48% of Australian TGDNB youth report having attempted suicide). While some relevant psychological interventions have recently been developed overseas, currently there is limited evidence to support their feasibility and efficacy, and they have not yet been tested in an Australian context. 

The aim of the study is to co-design a structured group cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) program for TGDNB adolescents attending The RCH Gender Service (RCHGS) and conduct a non-randomised trial of the program to improve mental health. 

The research will answer the following questions:  

  • Do TGDNB young people who receive the group CBT intervention show significant improvement in mental health outcomes that are sustained for 6 months? 
  • Do TGDNB young people who receive the group CBT intervention show significantly reduced minority stress (e.g. less internalised stigma, greater pride in identity) from pre- to post-intervention, sustained at six months? 

Status of Project 
Ongoing 

Progress milestones 
Ethics approval obtained April 2022 
Co-design workshops due for completion July 2022 
Evaluation of co-design process (expected August 2022) 

Research Team 
Tim Cronin, Alessandra Chinsen, Carmen Pace, Ken Pang, Michelle Tollit, Michelle Telfer, Zeffie Poulakis, Chris Pepping

Acknowledgement of Country

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At Mental Health Central we acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live, gather and work. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

We acknowledge all people with a lived or living experience of mental ill-health and recovery. At the Campus, we particularly acknowledge children, young people, families, carers, and supporters. We recognise their vital contribution and value the courage of those who share this unique perspective for the purpose of learning and growing together to achieve better outcomes for the Campus, staff, sector, and all people of lived experience.

Proudly supported by the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation