The Research Project

In the context of poor mental health among LGBTQ+ young people in Australia, this research project investigates young people’s digital peer support practices and how these can be fostered and supported by national mental health policy.

The project engages LGBTQ+ young people (16-25 years) through a national survey and interviews. LGBTQ+ support service staff and volunteers will also be interviewed, along with ‘influential peers’ (nominated by LGBTQ+ participants), who will also be engaged through digital ethnography.

The project engages in deep analysis of LGBTQ+ young people’s digital peer support practices to produce evidence on:

– the care and resources offered

– the media and platforms used

– most useful types of support

– when support is most useful

This evidence will be used to inform national mental health policy, LGBTQ+ service provision, and international academic discussion. The project will produce interim public reports to assist LGBTQ+ community organisations and services.

Who’s involved?

The project is lead by Dr Paul Byron, a UTS Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow. Paul works in the Digital and Social Media discipline within the School of Communication. He has previously worked at Twenty10 inc. GLCS NSW, Swinburne University of Technology (partnering with ACON and Family Planning NSW), and Macquarie University. He is a researcher on the Scrolling Beyond Binaries study, and has a research interest in digital cultures of friendship, care, and everyday support.

The project is overseen by an Advisory Committee comprised of LGBTQ+ young people, community service providers, health professionals, academics, and other stakeholders.

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