Trans Pathways is the largest study ever conducted of the mental health and care pathways of trans and gender diverse young people in Australia (859 participants). It is also the first Australian study to incorporate the views of parents and guardians of trans young people (194 participants). We have worked very closely with the research team through the Freedom Centre, and jointly delivered the art workshops and trans peer mentoring with funding from the Mental Health Commission.
What did Trans Pathways tell us?
Trans young people are at very high risk for poor mental health, self-harming and suicide attempts. Around 3 in every 4 trans young people have experienced anxiety or depression. Four out of 5 trans young people have ever engaged in self-harm, and almost 1 in 2 trans young people have ever attempted suicide (48%).
Trans young people found it difficult to access health services with 60% feeling isolated from medical and mental health services, and 42% having reached out to a service provider who did not understand or respect their gender identity. Problems with health services included a lack of education about gender diversity, not knowing where to refer trans clients, and transphobia.
Many trans young people have experienced negative situations that affect their mental health such as peer rejection, bullying, issues with school, university or TAFE, and a lack of family support.
Participants told us they used music and art, peers and friends, activism, social media and pets to make themselves feel better and take care of the mental wellbeing.
We have provided a list of recommendations for governments and health providers, as well as guidance for schools, parents, peers and young trans people.