Research shows that family support plays a key role in the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals, particularly youth who “come out.” Dr. Caitlin Ryan, a clinical social worker on LGBT health and mental health issues for over 40 years and founder of the Family Acceptance Project, and Marian Edmonds Allen, the new National Program Director for the Family Acceptance Project talk about the importance of supportive family environments in the health of LGBT youth.
The Family Acceptance Project works with culturally and religiously diverse families, teaching them how to apply research-tested supportive behaviors towards LGBT youth in a family setting. The group created a series of faith-based family education pamphlets; the first published version, co-written with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Bishop Bob Reese, is geared towards LDS families.
The project hopes to tap into the supportive power of families to create a safer and healthier environment for LGBT youth. The group made the announcement in March that they will establish a permanent center for the project in Utah.
"I believe that Utah is a compassionate and caring environment and part of what we need to do is to provide accurate information so that these very distressing needs of LGBT young people-- exceedingly high rates of attempted suicide, extraordinary high rates of homelessness-- so that we can address this as a humanitarian crisis, which it is, and do it with accurate information and compassion," said Ryan.