The University of Texas at Austin will collaborate with UT Southwestern Medical Center on the first national study on suicide prevention among LGBTQ + young adults, a group at higher risk for depression and suicide.
The study, supported by funding of $ 5.4 million price of Institute for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCORI), aims to determine whether interventions adapted to this population can reduce their risks. Researchers from the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin joined forces with study leaders at UT Southwestern and with the Texas Health Institute, a health institute public nonprofit based in Austin.
PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information they need to make more informed healthcare decisions. For more information on PCORI funding, visit PCORI.org.
Tailored interventions will focus on how to identify and screen LGBTQ + patients in primary care and engage effectively with participants using strategies that take into account the needs of these young adults who may have experienced negative interactions with them. health systems in the past.
“We know the science behind suicide interventions, but they may need to be culturally adapted to specific subpopulations to save more lives,” said Elizabeth Arnold, Ph.D., LCSW, study principal investigator and professor and vice president of research for family and community medicine at UT Southwestern. “What works for one group may not work for another group.”
More than 40% of LGBTQ + youth have seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to The Trevor Project, a national organization providing suicide prevention services to this population. While this rate is significantly higher than among non-LGBTQ + youth, little research has been done on the types of interventions that can address the disparity.
The project will recruit nearly 600 young LGBTQ + adults (18-24 years old) from the Dallas and Austin areas who are having thoughts of suicide. Participants will be assigned to one of two programs which will connect them with mental health professionals. However, one of the programs also trains support people – chosen by patients – to provide them with emotional support and encouragement to use mental health services.
“Identifying young LGBTQ + adults before they go into crisis is a critical part of this study, as many suicide prevention interventions focus on preventing suicide attempts among young people who have recently had one,” said Phillip W. Schnarrs, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Population Health at Dell Med who will lead the work at the Austin site. âThis population often feels disconnected from others due to stigma and / or discrimination, which can lead to suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts. It is therefore essential to examine the effectiveness of interventions that encourage social support. ”
The study will recruit patients from primary care settings and assess the effectiveness of the programs by measuring their suicidal thoughts – their suicidal thoughts. Both programs will be tailored based on feedback from members of the LGBTQ + community and other key stakeholders from the project engagement team, which includes a Youth Advisory Board and another PCORI-funded project called Trans .CHEEKY.
âA lot of people go to primary care but may not seek mental health care, so we’ll go to primary care clinics to try to intervene early when people first develop these suicidal thoughts,â Arnold said. .
Arnold’s award was approved pending the completion of a review of activities and programs by PCORI staff and the issuance of a formal award contract.