A new Canadian study—the first and largest of its kind in Canada—shows that while Canada’s transgender youth face significant physical and mental health issues, strong family, school and community connections are helping many of them navigate these challenges.
The report uncovered positive sources of support for trans youth—parents, family members, schools, and community adults—especially when these adults supported the youth in living in their preferred gender.
“If someone had a supportive adult in the family, they were about four times less likely to have self-harmed in the past 12 months. If they felt more connected to school, they were almost twice as likely to report good or excellent mental health as those with lower levels of school connectedness.” – Elizabeth Saewyc, the study’s principal investigator and a nursing professor at the University of British Columbia.
The report calls for measures to improve the well-being of trans youth, including:
- Improved support for families;
- Developing safer, more inclusive schools;
- Retooling health care to provide gender-affirming services for trans youth;
- Reducing health care disparities between provinces.
The study involved 923 participants between the ages 14-25 who answered a range of questions in English or French on their home and school life, physical and mental health, access to health care, and gender identity.