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Improving LGBTQIA+ Tertiary Students’ Mental Health: An Aotearoa New Zealand Perspective

Friday, June 30, 2023 - 13:00 to 14:00
Jim Burrow Building JB113 (and via Teams)
Person holding a Progress Pride Flag.

Guest speaker: Claudia Garcia, PhD Candidate & Clinical Psychology Trainee Department of Psychology University of Otago, New Zealand

Tertiary students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/trans, queer, intersex, asexual or otherwise diverse in terms of their sex, sexuality and/or gender (LGBTQIA+) face many of the same common challenges that their cisgender heterosexual peers encounter, such as study stress, managing finances, and navigating relationships. However, LGBTQIA+ tertiary students can encounter additional challenges related to their sex, sexuality and/or gender, such as exploring their identities, experiencing social isolation, and facing societal and interpersonal discrimination.

International research shows that LGBTQIA+ tertiary students are at a higher risk of developing mental health difficulties and engaging in unsafe levels of substance use, compared to their cisgender heterosexual peers. While LGBTQIA+ tertiary students are a population with an identified need for targeted mental health care, there are few interventions designed with this population in mind. Furthermore, the historic and ongoing marginalisation of the indigenous population of Aotearoa New Zealand adds nuance to the mental health experiences of LGBTQIA+ students.

In this presentation, Claudia will review the cultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand as it relates to tertiary students and LGBTQIA+ identities, before introducing discoveries in their doctoral research as it relates to LGBTQIA+ student mental health.

Finally, Claudia will discuss the development of an online cognitive behavioural therapy-based mental health intervention for LGBTQIA+ tertiary students in Aotearoa New Zealand, highlighting how this development relates to improving mental health services for all LGBTQIA+ young people, both online and in-person.

For further details, please contact the Health Studies Research Group co-leads Professor Cathy Lloyd ( or Dr Mathijs Lucassen (