Rollout of top LGBTQ+ resources paired with content safety features and customizable filters on Peer Health Exchange’s selfsea.org reinforce commitment to safe spaces for and by young people
Oakland, CA, June 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Peer Health Exchange (PHE) meets LGBTQ+ young people at the intersection of their identity and health—wherever they are, online or in schools, 365 days a year. Recent updates to digital youth-centered platform selfsea.org, powered by PHE, include filters allowing users to customize resources by sexual orientation, race, and/or gender identity. Also newly introduced to the platform is a filter for content warnings, demonstrating a commitment to the digital safety of young people. In addition, the anticipated ‘Collections’ tab will highlight relevant selfsea resources for events such as Pride Month. 68% of selfsea users identify as LGBTQ+, and the site features identity-affirming stories and resources created and/or selected by young people.
selfsea user and Youth Design Group member Kennedy Jones, 17, (she/her) said, “It’s fulfilling to be part of work that prioritizes listening to, supporting, and affirming LGBTQ+ young people like me.” Staff member Shelby Weinstein (she/they) says, “The various intersecting identities of the storytellers featured in selfsea’s video library makes me so proud of be a part of this work. I know that in order to encourage our storytellers to show up as their authentic selves, it’s important for me to lead authentically, too, sharing my own identity and pronouns.”
In schools nationwide, Peer Health Exchange also provides an identity-affirming health education program. “PHE aims to cultivate a classroom that is both student-centered and equitable, and LGBTQ+ education is a significant part of that. Our curriculum provides young people with an understanding of gender and sexuality, language, and pronoun usage. Students express how meaningful it is to have these conversations and representation connected to their learning experience in a supportive environment,” Health Facilitator-Fellow in Chicago Katie Marciniak (she/hers) said.
Chief Executive Officer Dr. Angela Glymph said, “With so many LGBTQ+ youth reporting anxiety, depression, and overall mental health distress, and with states aggressively limiting access to care and visibility, there is a widening gap in accessible resources. In the classroom and online, PHE listens to young people, and co-creates safe spaces, resources, and support.”
Accessible and secure platforms and content tailored to youth are increasingly critical, as over 490 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the United States as of May 2023, according to data from the American Civil Liberties Union. The increase in targeted legislation brings worsening mental health outcomes for LGBTQ+ youth. According to the Trevor Project 2023 Survey of more than 28,000 LGBTQ+ young people, nearly 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ young people said their mental health was poor most of the time or always due to anti-LGBTQ+ policies and legislation.
- My experience with dysphoria at a very young age
- My experience coming out to my mom
- Accessing gender affirming care when my parents didn't approve
selfsea, powered by Peer Health Exchange, reaches over 200,000 young people with support, resources, and stories from young adults who’ve been there. We believe self-care is community care. Our platform was designed together with young people as a safe digital place where they can see themselves reflected within a supportive and inclusive community that prioritizes their identity and experiences about mental health, sexual health, and beyond. http://www.selfsea.org/
About Peer Health Exchange
With our partners, we seek to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for young people in under-resourced communities. Founded in 2003, Peer Health Exchange aims to build healthier communities with young people. Peer Health Exchange’s mission is to build healthier communities with and for young people. Together, we create education opportunities for peers to share the tools and resources young people need to make healthy decisions. www.peerhealthexchange.org