Advances in Mental Health, Vol 12, No 1 (2013)

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The views of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth regarding computerised self-help for depression: An exploratory study

Mathijs F. G. Lucassen, Simon Hatcher, Karolina Stasiak, Theresa Fleming, Matthew Shepherd, Sally N. Merry


Background: Lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) youth with depression are often isolated and face the double stigma of mental ill-health and being non-heterosexual.  Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT) offers a means of providing these youth with evidence-based self-help that is confidential and can be accessed privately.  We created a cCBT resource for youth generally and wished to explore what alterations, if any, might be needed to make it acceptable and relevant to LGB youth.

Method: Three focus groups were conducted with LGB young people (56% female, aged 16-27 years) from two LGB youth organisations in New Zealand.  We used the general inductive approach to: explore the issues faced by LGB youth; and, their views about prototypes of a cCBT program (SPARX). 

Results: Participants reported a number of challenges from living in a homophobic and gender-stereotyped world and they recommended that these be incorporated in a cCBT program addressing depression for LGB youth. Participants were mainly positive about the idea of cCBT and the prototypes of the program; however, they made suggestions to ensure that the program was relevant and appealing to them. 

Conclusion: Prototypes of a ‘generic’ cCBT program did not address all the issues that LGB youth face.  It proved feasible to adapt a cCBT program to take this feedback into account, and this led to the creation of Rainbow SPARX.  The makers of e-therapy interventions should actively involve and respond to the views of consumers.  

Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
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