Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth (ages 14–18), commonly referred as sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) in the literature, experience elevated mental health risks and vulnerabilities (Almeida et al., J Youth Adolesc 38(7):1001–1014, 2009), including: depression (Martin-Storey and Crosnoe, J Adolesc 35(4):1001–1011, 2012; King et al., BMC Psychiatry 8:70, 2008), substance misuse (Mustanski et al., Am J Public Health 104(2):287–294, 2014), and increased suicidality (Marshal et al., J Adolesc Health 49:115–123, 2011; Marshal et al., J Youth Adolesc 42(8):1243–1256, 2013). Furthermore, there is a notable gap in the study of empirically supported mental health interventions for SGMY (Craig and Austin, Children Youth Serv Rev 64:136–144, 2016). This conceptual paper will explore the feasibility of mindfulness-based interventions as a mental health approach for SGMY. In light of the promising research evidence for mindfulness-based interventions (Tan, Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry 21(2):193–207, 2016), this paper proposes the use of mindfulness to help address mental health vulnerabilities experienced by SGMY. A brief review of the mindfulness-based intervention literature for youth will be provided. Finally, utilizing minority stress theory (Meyer, in Minority stress and mental health in gay men, Columbia University Press, New York, NY, 2003) and an affirmative-based practice conceptualization, adapting mindfulness-based interventions to address mental health issues among SGMY will be explored. Drawing on the author’s clinical and community based experience working with SGMY, this paper will build a case for the systematic investigation of culturally-appropriate affirmative mindfulness-based interventions for SGMY.
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The author would like to thank Dr. Shelley L. Craig, Neelu Walia, and Roz Spafford for their abundant encouragement, inspiration, and perceptive feedback and review of this article.
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Author Gio Iacono declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. This is a conceptual and theoretical manuscript.
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Iacono, G. An Affirmative Mindfulness Approach for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth Mental Health. Clin Soc Work J 47, 156–166 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-018-0656-7