Mental Health Service Contacts Among Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Girls in Boston Public High Schools

Jeremy D. Kidd, J. Lee White, Renee M. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although sexual minority (SM) adolescent girls are at high risk for suicidal behavior, little is known about their use of mental health services (MHS). Therefore, we examined survey data from a sample of Boston high school students to compare the prevalence of MHS use among SM and heterosexual girls.We used chi-square tests to assess the statistical significance of group differences. To test whether SM status moderated the association between MHS use and mental health need (i.e., whether the student reported self-harm, suicidal ideation, or a suicide attempt in the past year), we entered mental health need, SM status, and the interaction term of the two into a regression model that predicted past 12-month MHS use.SM girls (n = 89) were significantly more likely than heterosexual girls (n = 800) to report suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and self-harm. SM girls were also more likely to have reported a past 12-month MHS contact (54% vs. 26%, p < 0.0001); this finding held for those with and without a high level of mental health need. The interaction term was not statistically significant, indicating that SM status does not moderate the effect of mental health need on MHS use. These results indicate that SM girls, particularly those experiencing suicidality, are likely to report a MHS contact. Future research is needed to elucidate when/how SM girls come to use MHS and what types of services they are receiving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-123
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • girls
  • mental health services
  • school services
  • sexual minority
  • suicide attempts
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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