To help us increase awareness and education, the Novato Teen Clinic’s Peer Health Promoters, a small group of high school students, developed a survey to assess the mental health needs of LGBTQ youth in Novato.

The survey was taken by 13 LGBTQ Novato youth ages 14-19, who also participated in a follow-up focus group. Survey respondent population:

There were three key areas where we collected information: 1. Campus Climate and Community, 2. Mental Health Needs, 3. Mental Health Services.

CAMPUS CLIMATE AND COMMUNITY

All the students who participated in the survey are “out” in some capacity and describe the school campus as comfortable and safe, and zero reported any incidents of bullying.

MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS

Most respondents reported that they need/get support for academic/school-related stress, anxiety, self-esteem, and/or family issues.  The students described the greatest issue that negatively affects their mental health are family issues (half of whom specified that these issues are fueled by their sexuality/identity), school-related/academics, self-esteem and self-hatred.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

All youth reported some need, and most were aware of services. Some were not aware, which indicates the need for ongoing outreach. The youth that do access services receive them through the NTC, private mental health care providers, and through their school.  A positive finding was that participants reported that the best thing about services in Novato is that they are welcoming and safe.

After reviewing all the data, NMCS recommends the creation of safe spaces for our LGBTQ youth community. NMCS believes it is important to have LGBTQ-identified youth working as health ambassadors, and NTC has recruited an LGBTQ Peer Health Promotor who will be joining our team. All PHPs will be trained annually in LGBTQ cultural competency as well.  This will help promote and provide safe and  confidential spaces for youth to seek mental health services.

NMCS believes support for LBGTQ youth will help build a strong community with opportunities for all.

If you or you know a teen that would like more information, please confidentially text or call 415-985-5012 or email kvernor@northmarincs.org for more information.