The Family Acceptance Project™
The Family Acceptance Project™ (FAP) is a community research, intervention, and education initiative that studies the impact of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. FAP is directed by Dr. Caitlin Ryan at San Francisco State University.
Dr. Ryan’s research shows that families, parents, foster parents, caregivers, and guardians can have a very dramatic impact on their LGBT children. Ryan and her team found that family acceptance promotes well-being and helps protect LGBT young people against risk. And family rejection has a serious impact on a gay or transgender young person’s risk for health and mental health problems.
Results are being used to help strengthen families and to develop training materials and interventions to help providers support families to decrease their LGBT children’s risk for health and mental health problems and to increase their well-being.
FAP has published a booklet, Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children, that offers basic information to help parents and caregivers support their LGBT children, to reduce their risk for depression, suicide, substance abuse and HIV infection, and to promote their well-being. Readers can download the booklet in English or Spanish. View a pdf of this publication or contact Greater Boston PFLAG at 781-891-5966 for a hard copy.
To learn more visit the Family Acceptance Project.
Read more about Caitlin Ryan's research in Social Work Today.
2009 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education - in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - conducts the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) in randomly selected high schools in every odd-numbered year. The YRBS focuses on the major risk behaviors that threaten the health and safety of young people. This anonymous survey includes questions about tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors that might lead to unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease, dietary behaviors, physical activity, and behaviors associated with intentional or unintentional injuries. Data from the YRBS provide accurate estimates of the prevalence of risk behaviors among public high school students in the Commonwealth, and are important for planning health education and risk prevention programs.
The results of the 2009 survey show that 5.9% of students described themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual and 9.4% of all students described themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual and/or reported same-sex sexual contact. The survey revealed that, when compared to heterosexual students, gay, lesbian and bisexual students were:
over 4 times as likely to have attempted suicide in the past year
over 4 times as likely to have missed school in the past month because of feeling unsafe
almost 2 times as likely to have been injured or threatened with a weapon at school
See the summary of the 2009 MA Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
The Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention
The Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention is an alliance of suicide prevention advocates—public and private agency representatives, policy makers, suicide survivors, mental health and public health consumers and providers, and concerned citizens—committed to working together to reduce the incidence of suicide in Massachusetts. Its mission is to support and develop effective suicide prevention initiatives by providing leadership and advocacy, promoting collaborations among organizations, developing and recommending policy, and promoting research and development.
Suicide is of special concern to Greater Boston PFLAG because LGBT youth are at an increased risk for suicide and LGBT youth who have been the victims of harassment or violence are at the highest risk.
Learn more at Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention.