Journal of Internet Medical Research
- I am (pronounced as “eye-me”) was designed with and for young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) youth to help them explore and affirm their identity and learn practical approaches to coping with stress sexual and gender minorities in ways that are supportive, relevant, inclusive and joyful.
- Data from a randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania indicate that I amStimulates positive coping skills and mindsets that are important in supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth.
- These results suggest that I am can play an important role in helping LGBTQ+ teens cope with sexual and gender minority stress. I am can also help overcome barriers to access and engagement faced by in-person interventions by being freely accessible on demand, scalable, and confidential.
Newswise — San Francisco, Calif., August 1, 2022—Today, Hopelab published the results of its study on the effectiveness of I am, a free, research-backed mental health web app developed by the Innovation Lab, in partnership with CenterLink, the It Gets Better Project, and hundreds of LGBTQ+ youth. Results from a randomized controlled trial (RCT), conducted by researchers from Hopelab and the University of Pennsylvania’s Program for Sexuality, Technology, and Action Research (PSTAR), show that I am Stimulates positive coping skills and mindsets that are important in supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth.
I am, (pronounced “eye-me”) helps LGBTQ+ youth explore and affirm their identity and learn practical approaches to dealing with sexual and gender minority stress in positive, relevant, inclusive and joyful ways. The web app provides resources, activities, and stories of lived experiences of LGBTQ+ youth on important topics including stress, LGBTQ+ identity, internalized stigma, and gender identity and expression.
RCT data indicate that I am is effective in supporting the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth. A diverse group of LGBTQ+ youth randomly assigned to receive I am reported significantly greater improvements in their coping skills and significantly greater confidence in their coping skills than youth randomly assigned to receive an online list of approved and freely available resources for LGBTQ+ youth. These results suggest that I am can play an important role in helping LGBTQ+ teens cope with sexual and gender minority stress.
Investing in interventions that improve the resilience of sexual and gender minority youth is critical to their survival. Due to the stress of stigma and discrimination, LGBTQ+ youth are more than twice as likely to report feeling sad and hopeless, and more than three times more likely to have considered suicide than their heterosexual and cisgender peers . And these issues are further compounded for young people who face multiple sources of discrimination because of their race, ethnicity or gender, including prejudice, discrimination and the rise of hate speech. We need to help LGBTQ+ youth – especially BIPOC youth – assert their identity and manage stress using research-based tools they can freely access online, where they already seek support. [Dr José Bauermeister, lead researcher]
Whereas I am is neither a crisis tool nor designed to help adolescents cope with suicidal thoughts, early evidence suggests that interventions delivered by I am can boost coping skills and positive states of mind, which are essential supports for long-term LGBTQ+ mental health.
I am is available free of charge on imi.guide.
To learn more about the new data, please visit this link.
About JMIR Publications
JMIR Publications is a leading, born-digital, open-access publisher of more than 30 scholarly journals and other innovative science communication products that focus on the intersection of health and technology. Its flagship journal, the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is the world’s leading digital health journal in terms of content and visibility, and it is the largest journal in the field of medical informatics. To learn more about JMIR publications, please visit https://www .jmirpublications.com or connect with us via YouTube, Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn or Instagram. If you would like to know more about promotional opportunities, please contact us at [email protected]The content of this communication is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work, published by JMIR Publications, is properly cited . JMIR is a registered trademark of JMIR Publications.
Hopelab is a social innovation lab and impact investor advancing entrepreneurs, research, digital health, and solutions that support and empower young people, especially those from historically underserved communities. The organization works to remove systemic barriers to the mental health and emotional well-being of young people through targeted social impact investments, practical design and research support for digital innovation and to translational scientific partnerships. Learn more at www.hopelab.org.
PSTAR advances research and intervention methods to reduce sexuality-related health disparities and improve equity for sexual and gender minority populations through innovative scientific approaches and engagement community. PSTAR is founded and led by José A Bauermeister, PhD, MPH, who is the Albert M Greenfield Professor of Human Relations and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health at the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more at https://www.pennpstar.org.
Bauermeister J, Choi SK, Bruehlman-Senecal E, et al. A web-based identity affirmation application to help sexual and gender minority youth cope with minority stress: a randomized controlled pilot trial.
J Med Internet Res 2022;24(8):e39094