Researching for LGBTQ Health

Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Access to Services in Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic (S.M.A.S.H COVID)

The recent pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 is straining the mental health of gender and sexually diverse people, especially among those with pre-existing mental health issues. LGBTQ2S youth and young adults may delay or avoid seeking services because of past discrimination, perceived homophobia, and accessibility due to their ethnicity, socio-economic status, geographic isolation, and immigration status. Service organizations are facing numerous challenges meeting the needs of their clients with many no longer accepting new clients. Given the pre-COVID challenges and barriers accessing care before the pandemic, additional folks are living with their basic needs unmet.

CAMH has received funding from CIHR to identify the specific unmet mental health and substance use care needs to be experienced by gender and sexually diverse youth and young adults as a result of COVID-19. The project will provide policy and practice recommendations through co-design with youth and service providers for the development and improvement of programs and targeted responses aimed at addressing LGBTQ2S youth and young adult’s mental health and substance use issues as a result of the pandemic. We will incorporate innovative machine learning to analyze a survey of 1500 youth and young adults to identify complex intersectionalities and use that information to adapt or develop new programming in collaboration with Rainbow Services at CAMH over the next 12 months.

We are currently producing a website ( and social media platforms.

In the meantime, for more information on this project, please reach out to the research coordinator: