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Spit for Science Luncheon Presentation

  • White House - basement conference room 806 West Franklin Street Richmond, VA, 23284 United States (map)

Tentative title: LGBTQ+ College Student Mental Health Outcomes and Service Use

Description: Spit for Science survey data now includes better and more expansive sexual orientation and gender identity questions. In doing some preliminary analyses of student experiences with trauma, violence, resilience, and belonging, I found that (as we'd expect, given the literature) LGBTQ+ students at VCU are significantly more likely to report feeling like they don't belong, that they have thought about or attempted suicide, that they have feelings of anxiety/depression/PTSD symptomology, and are significantly more likely to have experienced some sort of past trauma (including physical and sexual violence). What's interesting, though, is that contrary to what the (limited) literature indicates, our LGBTQ+ students are actually significantly more likely to seek out and utilize University Counseling Services and are equally likely to use services at The Well. In conjunction with a representative from The Well and UCS, this project will discuss not only the significance of the S4S findings, but also detail what initiatives VCU has engaged in that might be leading to increased service usage among LGBTQ+ students (including, but not limited to: hiring openly LGBTQ+ people into positions within UCS and The Well; advertising services/programs that are either LGBTQ+ specific or explicitly not-heteronormative/not-cissexist; and collaborations across units that benefits the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ students). We hope the findings will act as a sort of "guideline" or "template" for other institutions looking to increase mental health service usage among LGBTQ+ students.