New training program and film tackle LGBTQ youth homelessness

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Dr Alex Abramovich and CAMH

New training program and film tackle LGBTQ youth homelessness

Dr Alex Abramovich and CAMH

In September, CAMH Scientist Dr. Alex Abramovich and collaborators unveiled Toronto's first mandatory training program for shelters to better meet the needs of LGBTQ homeless youth. The new program aims to stop the violence and discrimination that many LGBTQ youth experience in shelters, which frequently lack staff training and other supports to assist LGBTQ youth.

"Until we end LGBTQ2S youth homelessness and ensure safe, welcoming and inclusive environments in all support programs, the fight to create authentic spaces for LGBTQ2S homeless youth will be far from over," said Dr. Abramovich of CAMH's Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at the event.

Called Fostering an Inclusive Shelter Environment for LGBTQ2S Youth, the training curriculum was developed by Dr. Abramovich and The 519, who worked in collaboration with the Toronto Hostels Training Centre and A Way Home, a national coalition dedicated to preventing, reducing and ending youth homelessness in Canada. The initiative was supported by the TD Bank and the City of Toronto.

In addition to developing the mandatory training curriculum for shelter staff, the team created 11 informational graphics on topics such as LGBTQ youth homelessness statistics, suicide, family conflict and barriers to employment. The infographics are available to the public to share and raise awareness.

Dr. Abramovich also premiered his film Nowhere To Go: A Brokered Dialogue, a 30-minute research-based film highlighting the challenges faced by LGBTQ homeless youth struggling with mental health issues. To create the film, Dr. Abramovich used a qualitative, participatory research method called Brokered Dialogue, which uses film to help promote respectful dialogue among individuals who have different perspectives on a contentious health or social issue and who would not normally engage with one another.

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