APA's Healthy Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students Project is developing a new series of training sessions for the next phase of its five-year plan to help school counselors, nurses, psychologists and social workers prevent health risks and promote healthy outcomes for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth.
The project's goal is to train school professionals on the health and mental health issues of LGB students, including students questioning their sexual orientation or engaging in same-sex sexual behavior. That includes helping the school professionals integrate new knowledge into their daily work and showing them how to promote a safe school environment for all students to learn and develop.
In the three years since the project was launched, staff members have been collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as six professional associations representing school counseling, health and mental health professionals. They've also been presenting information on addressing LGB students' needs at regional and national conferences.
This spring, the project staff will kick off a new series of training sessions at regional and state meetings using a new curriculum developed by APA and its six collaborating associations. The curriculum will include information on:
Adolescence and sexuality development.
Health and mental health risks of LGB youth.
HIV/AIDS and LGB youth.
Strategies and rationale for working with LGB youth in school-based settings.
The training will also suggest specific actions that school counselors, nurses, psychologists and social workers can take to help create a safe, supportive school environment for all students. Just one example: When a student is being harassed, address the bully as well as the needs of the harassed student. Portions of the program will be tailored to the specific needs of each of the four professions.
The project has also selected schools in Philadelphia and Connecticut to serve as pilot sites for additional training activities over the next two years. During the pilot project, Healthy LGB Students Project staff and collaborators will train participating social workers, nurses, psychologists and counselors, and evaluate the impact the training has on the schools' students, staff and environment. The project is funded by a grant from the CDC.