Authors: Karl Hind, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, UK.



Transgender/gender diverse (TGD) children experience poorer mental health and social outcomes than those who do not identify as TGD (Smith et al., 2014; Geist et al., 2019), including increased risk for depression and suicidal ideation (Haas et al., 2011; VanBergen & Love, 2022). Research has linked these poor outcomes to the micro-aggressions and dismissive attitudes of their families, communities and wider society (Brooks, 2000; Ryan et al., 2010). This service evaluation used Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) with a small number of purposively sampled parents (n = 5) to explore experiences of their children’s involvement with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). The aim was to add to the understanding we have of the needs of TGD client groups and to inform service provision. This study supports the wider research base linking affirmative attitudes to more positive mental health outcomes, and adds additional nuance to our understandings of parental attitudes. Parents are not typically polarised in ‘affirmative’ or ‘dismissive’ positions, but rather engaged in journeys of personal growth and development, generally becoming more affirmative over time. These parents also described significant additional support needs with social deprivation, family breakdown and the impact of developmental difference highlighted. Recommendations for intervention are made.

Keywords: Trans, gender diverse, mental health, affirmative, dismissive, micro-aggression.

Vol 5, Issue 1, April 2024