Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

Program Name/Specialization

Studies in Social Work Practice


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Shoshana Pollack

Advisor Role

Direct supervisor; Chair of the dissertation committee



Stories from the Rainbow Road: 2SLGBTQIA+ Identified Youth and Service Provider Experiences of Mental Health Service Delivery in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

The purpose of this research project was to understand how publicly funded mental health service provision to 2SLGBTQIA+ identified youth in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) is influenced by cis and heteronormativity. In a review of the associated literature, there is a notable focus on the barriers to mental health services experienced by queer and trans youth in general; however, there is very little information about the actual service delivery experiences of those youths who manage to access mental health supports and an even greater paucity of information that is specific to the province of NL.

This research project sought to “step into” these identified gaps to give 2SLGBTQIA+ identified youth in the province of NL the opportunity to share their stories of mental health service delivery concerning cis and heteronormativity. Similarly, to provide context for these experiences, mental health service providers were also included and asked to share their experiences of the mental health service delivery system concerning their work with queer and trans youth.

A total of ten 2SLGBTQIA+ identified youths and five service providers were recruited for this project. A triangulated research design was employed as follows: 1) fifteen narrative-based interviews were conducted with study participants regarding their respective service delivery experiences with regard to cis and heteronormativity;2) four youths and two service providers participated in the development and production of a personal digital story which highlighted their mental health service delivery experience as a recipient and/or provider of the same; and 3) four youths took part in a storytelling circle where they shared their personal digital story with other storytelling circle participants.

The outcomes of this study are significant for several reasons. They are Newfoundland and Labrador specific. Their timing aligns with the provincial mandate to overhaul its addiction and mental health service delivery systems and they represent the actual voices of the queer and trans youth consumer and the voices of those who provide services. As such, this project seeks to make a local contribution and it provides timely and salient recommendations for the improvement of future mental health service delivery making it safe, inclusive and responsive to the needs of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth service users in the province of NL.

Key Words:

Heteronormativity; Cisnormativity; 2SLGBTQIA+ Identified Youth; Mental Health Service Providers; Mental Health Service Provision Experiences; Qualitative Research; Digital Storytelling; Newfoundland and Labrador.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons