Project Youth AFFIRM seeks to integrate identity affirmation with cognitive-behavioural interventions that are already known to work. This combined intervention is presented in the form of eight sessions targeted at LGBTTQQ2SA* youth and adults and geared towards reducing risky sexual behaviour and depression.
AFFIRM is a eight session, manualized intervention. It is focused on reducing depression and improving coping and sexual self-efficacy for LGBTTQQ2SA* youth and adults by providing them opportunities to develop identity cognition (self-awareness, identifying risk), mood (recognizing the link between thoughts and feelings), and behaviour (identifying strengths and ways of coping), as well as equipping them with the tools to manage and influence those factors by themselves.
Previous research had described the systematic development of AFFIRM including: (1) clinical case studies, (2) community-based participatory research to inform the proposed AFFIRM model, (3) incorporation of participant feedback into an affirmative and developmentally relevant intervention framework described in a “living” adapted manual.
An Open-Pilot Feasibility Study found AFFIRM significantly reduced depression and appraising stress as a threat, as well as significantly increased reflective coping and perceiving stress as a challenge. Participants found the intervention to be valuable and reported high levels of acceptability and skills acquisition. These promising findings suggest that AFFIRM has potential effectiveness as a community-based intervention for LGBTTQQ2SA* youth and adults.
AFFIRM groups have a presence of other openly / visibly trans people, in person. Just being able to see and interact with other trans people is huge for me.
I really appreciated having a space to talk about the intersectionalies of my identities.
I try to think more about helping myself and taking my mental health as serious as my physical health. I try to apply some of the ways of relaxing or being mindful to my everyday life, that I learned from AFFIRM and it works from time to time and it's relieving to see that.