Background: Both anxiety and depression have been identified as negative health outcomes associated with the distressing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially among young people. Within this age demographic, trans and gender diverse people may be particularly vulnerable to pandemic-related mental health outcomes, such as anxiety and depression, due to the social challenges, gender dissonance, and poor mental health they experience. Furthermore, the social distancing measures impose several unique social and help-seeking challenges which may further contribute to the worsening of mental health. While there has been acknowledgment that vulnerable populations may be disproportionally affected by the pandemic, the experiences of trans and gender diverse youth have received very little empirical attention. Aims: To explore the mental health impact of Covid-19 on the lives of young trans and gender diverse people in the UK. Method: In total, 243 people took part in an online survey between May and July in 2020. Eighty-two people were removed due to providing insufficient data. The analyzed dataset therefore comprised of 161 respondents ranging from 16 to 25 years (M = 20; SD = 2.68). Participants were asked how social distancing measures had impact on their social lives, mental health and access to health services. They were also asked to complete validated measures of anxiety and depression. Results: This study found that those who experienced a greater impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and its associated social distancing measures, reported poorer mental health. Lack of social support, negative interpersonal interactions, unsupportive and non-affirming living environments and the inability to access mental health support and gender-affirming interventions were all factors that were associated with poor mental health. Conclusion: The findings provide specific direction for the tailoring of mental health service delivery to this population, noting the need for private, safe spaces in which young people can feel supported and have their gender identity affirmed.


© 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

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Jones, B., Bowe, M., McNamara, N., Guerin, E. & Carter, T. 2021, 'Exploring the mental health experiences of young trans and gender diverse people during the Covid-19 pandemic', International Journal of Transgender Health. https://doi.org/10.1080/26895269.2021.1890301

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Last updated: 19 October 2022
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