Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz

Queer-EMH: Participatory development of an easily accessible psychosocial E-Mental-Health intervention for LGBTQI+ individuals suffering from somatoform, anxiety and depressive disorders

Somatoform (medically unexplained somatic symptoms or bodily distress causing great concerns and anxiety), anxiety and depressive (SAD) disorders constitute the most common mental disorders in Germany. Of those affected in Germany, only 10 to 40 % get the treatment they need. Lack of appropriate treatment affects even more non-heterosexual, transgender, and non-binary people, a hard-to-reach group of patients with a highly elevated risk of SAD-disorders and, in some cases, considerable reservations about appropriate treatment among those affected and health care providers. E-Mental Health interventions promise effective and efficient ways to bridge the gap in mental health treatment. However, there is still no E- Mental-Health intervention in Germany that is tailored to the needs of this special target group. Furthermore, the complex mental health needs of this heterogeneous population have often been overlooked. A thorough investigation is necessary to determine the specific needs for prevention, counselling and psychotherapeutic interventions of non-heterosexual, transgender and non-binary people suffering from SAD-disorders. In close cooperation with representatives of the LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Intersex) community, affected patients and qualified mental health care professionals we will assess whether these needs can be addressed with existing evidence-based E-Mental-Health interventions or whether these interventions need to be adjusted for LGBTQI+ individuals. Based on the findings, a randomized controlled exploratory clinical study will be designed to improve the mental health of LGBTQI+ patients with SAD-disorders in close cooperation with representatives of the target group.

The study is being carried out as a joint project by the Clinic and Policlinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the University Medical Center Mainz and the Institute for Psychosocial Medicine, Psychotherapy and Psycho-Oncology at the University Hospital Jena (Prof. Dr. Bernhard Strauß) and is funded by the BMBF as part of the funding program Clinical Studies with high relevance for patient care funded from 2022 to 2023.