Te Pou
Matua Raki

Let’s talk about sex…(sexuality and gender)

Research details

Principal contact: Robert Ford
Author: Anna Birkenhead and Diana Rands
Status: Completed 30 January 2012

The research

Summary: Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) funded this research-based project to provide detailed information about the experiences of Rainbow service users as they access mental health and addiction services in Central Auckland. A key part of the research was to specifically identify any barriers or obstacles Rainbow consumers may face when engaging in services; and to record their experience of the responses from the service providers to their sexual orientation and gender identity during their engagement. Gaps in services were to be identified as well as recommendations for future service development.

Objectives: The overall aim of the project was to inform ways to improve the access to, and experience of, mental health and addiction services to the Rainbow Community in the ADHB catchment area.

Study design: Combinations of qualitative and quantitative research approaches were used, and included: 1. A national and international literature review of best practice in working with Rainbow people in mental health and addiction services. 2. Key informant interviews with 20 Rainbow individuals who had previously accessed mental health and addiction service(s) in Central Auckland. 3. Key informant interviews with 47 service providers (across a wide range of services within ADHB, PHO’s and NGO’s) currently working in mental health or addiction services in Central Auckland. 4. Surveying of 1160 current service users of public mental health services in Central Auckland.

Results: The summary of findings from this project are: • There are significant barriers and obstacles to effective services due to sexual orientation and gender identity issues not being identified and discussed (73% of all public mental health service users who responded to the anonymous survey have not had a discussion with their keyworker about their sexuality. This finding was consistent across key informant interviews with both Rainbow service users and service providers and is reflected in previous research in this area)... [see full report]

Conclusions: There are significant barriers to accessing effective services; including a lack of clinician/health professional skill in identifying and providing care to Rainbow service users and fear of the clinician/health professional’s response to service users with a Rainbow identity... [see full report]

Ethics approval: Unspecified
Academic led: No
Service led: Yes
Publication in peer review journal:

Supporting information

Uploaded Files: