A Trauma Informed Approach for Adolescent Sexual-Health

This is a report that talks about how to do comprehensive sexual education with youth that have been through trauma.

It covers sexual health, sexual education, populations affected, preventions, trauma, strengths and needs, therapeutic services and safety plans for those who have experienced trauma.

Click on the link before to read more.


2014 Queer Immigrants and Affordable Health Care

Queer immigrants face unique challenges such as:

  • denied healthcare on the basis that they are immigrants
  • non competent healthcare because providers are not educated on LGBTQI issues
  • transgender folks are denied healthcare at a higher rate based on identity

Click here to read the entire fact sheet.

Mental Health Disorders- Child Trends Adolescent Health Highlight (2013)

This newsletter published by Child Trends is an informative resource that clarifies a lot of common questions regarding adolescent mental health.  The newsletter contains definitions of mental health terminology, facts and figures about current mental health trends, a list of warning signs and common mental disorders among adolescents.  There is also information about treatment, mental healthcare access and barriers to care, strategies for reducing mental disorders among adolescents and a list of comprehensive resources.


Murphey, D., Barry, M., and B. Vaughn. (2013). Mental Health Disorders. Child Trends Adolescent Health Highlights.

Link to “Mental Health Disorders”

Go Ask Alice!


Go Ask Alice! is Columbia University’s health Q&A Internet resource. There are six category pages of questions answered —Alcohol & Other Drugs, Emotional Health, Fitness and Nutrition, General Health, Relationships, and Sexual and Reproductive Health. The goal of Go Ask Alice! is to keep readers inquisitive, informed, and healthy.

This resource is good for educators, young people who have questions, and organizations that work with young people. This resource is also valuable to parents.

To read more about Go Ask Alice! click here. 

Young women’s consistency of contraceptive use–does depression or stress matter? (2013)

This research study examined whether symptoms of stress and depression affected consistent contraception use by young women ages 18-20 years old.

Study participants completed journal entries over the span of 12 months and reproductive, relationship and health characteristics were assessed.  Baseline depression and stress symptoms and consistency of contraceptive methods use with sexual activity each week were also measured and assessed.

The researchers found that women with depression and stress symptoms had 47% and 69% reduced odds of contraceptive consistency each week than those without symptoms.  Stress predicted inconsistent use of oral contraceptives, condoms and withdrawal.

These findings stress the importance of women’s psychological and emotional status when physicians are educating patients about contraceptive decision-making and management.

This research study is useful for clinical workers, nurses, doctors and counselors.


Hall, K.S., Moreau, C., Trussell, J., Barber, J. Young women’s consistency of contraceptive use–does depression or stress matter? 2013. Contraception. 88:5. 641-649.

Link to “Young women’s consistency of contraceptive use–does depression or stress matter?” (Subscription Only)

Howard Brown Health Center and Broadway Youth Center

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Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) is one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations. The agency serves more than 16,000 adults and youth each year in its diverse health and social service delivery system focused around seven major programmatic divisions: primary medical care, behavioral health, research, HIV/STD prevention, youth services, elder services, and community initiatives.

The Broadway Youth Center (BYC) is a program with HBHC that enables FREE healthcare coverage for youth from the ages of 12-24. To read more about location, hours, and programs with BYC, click here. 

To read more about Howard Brown Health Center and their variety of health programs, click here.

The Risk of Unintended Pregnancy Among Young Women with Mental Health Symptoms (2014)

Every year in the United States, an estimated 3.2 million unintended pregnancies occur and inadequate contraceptive use accounts for 90% of these unintended pregnancies.  A great volume of research has associated women’s mental health with risky contraceptive behaviors, sex behaviors and relationships.  Risky contraceptive behaviors include contraceptive nonuse, misuse, discontinuation, and less effective method use while risky sex behaviors include having sex under the influence of alcohol and drugs, intimate partner violence and non-consensual sex.  From a biological and cognitive framework, mental health symptoms have been found to affect women’s cognitive capabilities for decision-making, risk assessment and planning and have been found to distort their perceived susceptibility to an outcome like pregnancy.  Naturally, many researchers have wondered whether there was a direct link between mental health and unintended pregnancy.

Drs. Hall, Kusunoki, Gatny and Barber, researchers from the University of Michigan, wanted to know exactly whether depression and stress symptoms directly translate to an actual effect on women’s risk of unintended pregnancy.  They collected data from 992 young women ages 18-20 years old who reported a strong desire to avoid pregnancy.  The researchers conducted interviews and analyzed journal entries over one year.  They measured contraception use, relationships and pregnancy outcomes and looked at a variety of factors such as race/ethnicity, educational attainment, relationship status, religion, birth control usage and etc.

The researchers found that:

  • Women with baseline stress symptoms had a 1.6 times higher risk of becoming pregnant over one year than women without stress symptoms.
  • Women who had co-occurring stress and depression had 2 times the risk of pregnancy than women without symptoms.
  • The sole effect of depression on pregnancy risk remains unclear

This research study highlights the negative impact of mental health symptoms, especially stress and co-occurring depression and stress, on young women’s risk of unintended pregnancy over one year.  This is important, especially for healthcare providers, who may want to consider young adults’ mental health during discussions about choosing the best form of contraception.  This is also important for health educators who may want to educate young women about the importance of stress management and provide resources and/or referrals to young adults who are experiencing mental health symptoms.


Hall, K.S., Moreau, C., Trussell, J., Barber, J. Young women’s consistency of contraceptive use–does depression or stress matter? 2013. Contraception. 88:5. 641-649.

Link to “The Risk of Unintended Pregnancy Among Young Women with Mental Health Symptoms.”

The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT)

The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) is a not-for-profit, interdisciplinary professional organization that includes educators, sexuality counselors and sex therapists, AASECT members such as physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, allied health professionals, clergy members, lawyers, sociologists, marriage and family counselors and therapists, family planning specialists and researchers, as well as students in relevant professional disciplines.

The mission and priority of AASECT is to promote understanding of human sexuality and healthy sexual behavior. They provide various resources including sexuality education certification, career mentorship, and monthly professional newsletter.

You can also connect with them via Facebook and Twitter.


Social Environment Linked to Gay Teen Suicide Risk (2011)

Reuters released an article detailing a study done by Mark Hatzenbuehler from Columbia University that “found lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth are less likely to attempt suicide when surrounded by a supportive social environment.” The original source research article was published in Pediatrics and is titled “Social Environment Linked to Gay Teen Suicide Risk.”  The research study was based on data from three years’ worth of health surveys that were completed by high school students in Oregon.

They found several interesting results:

  • LGB youth were more likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual youth (21.5% vs. 4.2%)
  • Among LGB youth, the risk of committing suicide was 20% greater in unsupportive environments compared to supportive environments.
  • A supportive environment was associated with a fewer suicide attempts.

This research study revealed that a negative environment can increase risk for suicide attempts among LGB youth and policy change should focus on improving social environment to address sexual-orientation related disparities in suicide attempts.


Pittman, G. “Social Environment Linked to Gay Teen Suicide Risk.” Reuters. 18 April, 2011. Web. 8 Dec, 2013.

Hatzenbuehler, M. “The Social Environment and Suicide Attempts in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth.” (2011). Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542.

Link to Reuters Article

Link to Source Article by Hatzenbuehler

Make It Better Project

The Make it Better Project was launched in 2010 by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in order to provide youth and adults concrete tools to make schools safer for LGBT students.

“The Make it Better Project aims to educate, motivate, and unite students and adults to effectively take action to stop bullying and harassment in schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity”

The website provides ideas and information for youth to increase LGBT awareness and community at the school level and at state and national levels.  There are also resources for parents, teachers and school administrators, and adult supporters who want to take a stand against bullying and advocate for LGBT youth and their rights.

There are also resources for individuals who want support or need to speak to someone in a confidential manner about LGBT issues.

You can connect with the Make it Better Project via their blogFacebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr.

Howard Brown Health Center (Chicago, IL)

Image Source: http://www.howardbrown.org/hb_locations.asp

Howard Brown Health Center was founded in 1974 and is now one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations.  Howard Brown Center is based in Chicago and serves men, women, infants, youth, and children through many health clinics and research centers.  For more information about Howard Brown Health Center’s history, click here.


“Howard Brown exists to eliminate the disparities in health care experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness.”

The Howard Brown Health Center provides many services including:

  • Walk-in Clinic
  • STD & HIV Rapid Testing
  • Transgender Health
  • HIV/STD Prevention & Services
  • Youth services
  • Elder services
  • Community initiatives
  • Alternative Insemination (AI) Program
  • Case Management
  • Counseling & Psychotherapy
  • Domestic Violence Support
  • Workshops & Support Groups

Howard Brown Health Center offers discounted health services to qualifying patients who are uninsured and have low income.  They also accept many insurance plans, in addition to Medicaid and Medicare.

For a list of locations, hours and specific services, click here.

For health related matters, please phone Howard Brown Health Center at 773-288-1600.  For urgent health issues, please call 911.

Connect with them via Facebook or Twitter.

Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth: A Toolkit


This pdf from Advocates for Youth is a handy guide for creating safe space for GLBTQ youth.  These youth face all types of harassment and challenges.  Research shows that homophobia and heterosexism greatly contribute to GLBTQ youth’s high rates of attempted and completed suicide, violence victimization, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and HIV associated risky behaviors. This toolkit discusses some of the tremendous difficulties GLBTQ youth face today, as well as how people can help create areas where GLBTQ youth can feel comfortable being themselves and not facing any type of discrimination.  It also contains several lesson plans to allow individuals to teach this information so that society can better understand the challenges these people face and how to respect them.

  • Positive community support and role models for GLBTQ adolescents are minimal, and many adults fear discrimination, job loss, and abuse if they openly support GLBT youth.
  • GLBT youth often internalize negative societal messages regarding sexual orientation and suffer from self-hatred as well as from social and emotional isolation. They may use substances to manage stigma and shame, to deny same-sex sexual feelings, and/or as a defense against ridicule and violence.
  • In a recent survey, 33 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students reported attempting suicide in the previous year, compared to eight percent of their heterosexual peers; 14 in another study, gay and bisexual males were nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide than were their straight peers.

Citation:  Girl’s Best Friend Foundation, A. F. Y. (2005). Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth:  A Toolkit.

Link to article.

Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth: A Toolkit (2005)

The Creating Safe Space Toolkit for GLBTQ Youthpublished by Advocates for Youth and Girl’s Best Friend Foundation, is intended for youth-serving professionals, especially in fields such as youth development, education, health care, and social work.

This toolkit addresses topics concerning homophobia and transphobia among youth and provides advice and tips in assessing an organization’s internal climate and staff’s personal attitudes regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, developing proactive policies, and developing positive attitudes regarding GLBTQ people.

The first part of the toolkit complies a lot of data from studies and surveys that looked at the homophobic climate in the U.S, sexual orientation development, family relationships, GLBT youth of color, substance abuse, lack of GLBT youth positive role models, sexual risks, and suicide risks.  The second part of the toolkit provides tips and strategies for creating a safe and inclusive space for GLBTQ youth.

Click here for a PDF of the “Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth” Toolkit

Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally and Mentally Challenged Youth (2006)


This resource, complied by Advocates for Youth, provides detailed information and resources for youth who live with physical and/or mental disabilities— including, but not limited to hearing, sight, and motor function impairments; Down syndrome; cerebral palsy; paraplegia and quadriplegia; developmental disorders; and mental health issues.

The resource is divided into the following sections:

  • Statistics and data about disabilities among children and youth
  • Myths and facts about sexuality and disability
  • Why should parents be concerned about sexual education for their disabled children?
  • General guidelines for parents
  • General guidelines for professional sex educators
  • Selected Resources for educators and other youth serving professionals–Books, Curricula
  • Selected Resources for parents–Books
  • Organizations/Web sites

Link to “Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally and Mentally Challenged Youth” on Advocates for Youth’s webpage

Link to PDF version

Young Parents and Education (2006)


Illinois Caucus for Adulescent Heath (ICAH) surveyed 120 pregnant and parenting youth to learn about school, self-esteem, discrimination, and their hopes for the future.

A large majority of those surveyed believe that it is important to finish high school, live in a safe place, and have medical coverage for their children and themselves. However, many respondents have faced challenges such as discrimination and even encouragement to leave school.  Nearly all report the need for significant support such as financial, emotional and childcare support in order to accomplish their goals.

Link to “Young Parents and Education (PDF)

Teen Pregnancy and Violence

This fact sheet compiled by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy contains facts and data about teen pregnancy, violence such as sexual and emotional abuse and relationships.

Some interesting facts include:

  • “Adverse childhood experiences such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, and witnessing intimate partner violence are linked with having sex at an early age […]”
  • “Several studies have found that teens are at an increased risk of physical abuse during pregnancy as compared to older women.”


The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2007). Why it Matters: Teen Pregnancy and Overrall Child Well-being. Washington, DC: Author.

Link to “Why it Matters: Teen Pregnancy and Violence.” (PDF)

Teen Pregnancy and Other Risky Behavior


This fact sheet provided by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy covers statistics regarding drug, alcohol, tobacco use, delinquency and sexual activity among teens.  Teens who drink or use drugs are often more sexually active and less likely to use contraception than teens who do not use drugs or drink alcohol.

According to the NCPTP: More than one-third of sexually active teens and young adults ages 15-24 report that alcohol or drug use has influenced them to do something sexual.

To view the full document click below:

Teen Pregnancy and Other Risky Behavior

For more resources from the NCPTP visit their website: www.teenpregnancy.org

Competence as a Predictor of Sexual and Reproductive Health Outcomes for Youth: A Systematic Review

This article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the purpose of the article was

To examine the association between “competence” and adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) outcomes. Competence refers to the development of skills to perform tasks successfully in four areas including social and behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and moral competence. We conducted a systematic review of research published from 1985 through 2007… Helping adolescents to achieve cognitive, social, and behavioral competence may reduce the likelihood of sexual activity and teen pregnancy, and increase contraceptive use.

The article discusses the method of the research conducted and the results. You can view the entire article here: Competence as a Predictor of Sexual and Reproductive Health Outcomes for Youth

Character as a Predictor of Reproductive Health Outcomes for Youth: A Systematic Review


“To review research examining the influence of character on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH). We defined character as comprising two positive youth development constructs: prosocial norms and spirituality. We conducted a systematic review of behavioral research published from 1985 through 2007 that examined the association between two character constructs (prosocial norms and spirituality) and ASRH outcomes. We coded results as showing a protective association, risk asso- ciation, or no association, and as longitudinal, or cross-sectional. We considered consistent associations from at least two longitudinal studies for a given outcome to be sufficient evidence for a protective or risk association. There is sufficient evidence to indicate that prosocial norms and spirituality can be protective factors for some ASRH outcomes including intention to have sex, early sex or ever having sex, contraceptive and condom use, frequency of sex, and pregnancy. The generalizability of findings by age, race/ethnicity, and gender was unclear. Findings suggest that some character sub-constructs are associated with a reduced likelihood of several adverse ASRH outcomes and with an increased likelihood of using contraceptives and intending to use condoms. Further research is needed to better understand mixed results and results showing some character sub-constructs, such as religious affiliation, to be associated with adverse ASRH outcomes.”

Full text not available without subscription. Click here.

Citation: House, L.D., Mueller, T., Reininger, B., Brown, K., Markham, C. M. (2010). Character as a predictor of reproductive health outcomes for youth: a systematic review. Journal of Adolescent Health. Vol. 46., Issue 3., p. S58-S74