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06 December 2010 @ 11:23 am
Looking for bisexuals in Ontario  
I've been hired by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to oversee a research project on bisexual people's experience of mental health within the province of Ontario.

This is a three year project, and I hope to interview about 800 bisexuals across the province. If you like, I'd be happy to share the results of the study with you when they're available. Just email me and say you're interested in the results, but be aware they won't be available for several years.

Right now I'm putting together an advisory committee to help guide the project, and am looking for bisexuals from all over Ontario to join this committee. Details are below.

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Request for applications for membership on an Advisory Committee for a new Research Project:

Risk and Resilience among Bisexual People in Ontario: A Community-Based Study of Bisexual Mental Health

Background

Very little is known about the mental health of bisexual people. What we do know is that, like lesbian and gay people, bisexuals report poorer mental health and higher rates of mental health service use, compared to heterosexual people. However, in many studies, bisexual people also report poorer mental health outcomes than gay men and lesbians. For example, bisexual people report higher rates of anxiety, depression, poor mental health, suicidal feelings, and self-harming behaviour, relative to gay and lesbian people.
In a previous study by our team, bisexual participants reported experiencing not only homophobia and heterosexism related to their same-sex relationships, but also biphobia related to their bisexual identities. It is possible that these multiple discrimination experiences put bisexual people at particular risk for mental health difficulties.

What will this project do?

We will survey 800 bisexual people from across Ontario about their mental health and their experiences with mental health services. We will use the information learned to improve mental health services for bisexual people. For this study our definition of bisexual includes people attracted to more than one sex and/or gender. This may include those who self-identify as bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, 2-spirited, fluid, queer, or who choose another non-heterosexual identity label.

Why is this project important?
• It will increase knowledge about the mental health of bisexual people.
• It will increase understanding about how discrimination impacts the mental health of bisexual people.
• It will increase understanding about bisexual people’s experiences with mental health services.
• It will document strategies bisexual people use to maintain and improve their mental health.

How can I get involved?
An important part of this project is an advisory committee made up of 6-10 bisexual people from across Ontario that will guide the project.

Participation in the Advisory Committee will involve attending 1-2 meetings per year (there is a budget to support travel costs for Advisory Committee members who live outside of Toronto). Between meetings, we will keep in touch by telephone and/or email. Members will be given an honorarium for their participation.

At the Advisory Committee meetings, we will:

• Share information about the progress of our research, and ask you to share this information with people you know who may be interested in the project.
• Ask for your suggestions about various aspects of our research process, including recruitment methods, study design, and instruments.
• Share results of the study, and ask for your feedback about our interpretation of the data.
• Ask for your suggestions about the best ways to share our findings.
• Discuss other research questions that we might want to ask of the data.
• Plan partnerships for advocacy around additional services or policy changes that our research reveals are needed.

An important role of our Advisory Committee members is to be the very first participants to complete our survey, and to invite other bisexual people you know in Ontario to participate.

We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds and experience, and especially encourage applications from:

• people who identify as transgender, transsexual, intersex, or genderqueer;
• people of colour and people from racialized communities;
• immigrants and refugees;
• Aboriginal and 2-spirited people;
• people whose first language is not English;
• people living with (dis)abilities;
• people living outside of the GTA – particularly people from rural and northern areas of the province.

How do I apply?

Please prepare a short (1 page or less) letter to answer the following questions:
• What attracts you to this project?
• How are you connected with bisexual communities in Ontario?
• What would you hope to get out of participating in this project?
• What skills and/or experiences (personal or professional) do you feel that you would bring to the project?

We aim to form a committee that will reflect a broad range of bisexual experiences. We encourage you to disclose information that you feel is relevant to helping us achieve this goal. The details of your application will be kept confidential.

Please email or mail us your letter, together with a brief résumé if you have one, by November 30th to margaret_robinson@camh.net or by mail to:

Margaret Robinson
Social Equity and Health Research Section
Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
455 Spadina Ave. Suite 300
Toronto, ON M5S 2G8

We thank all individuals for their interest, but only short-listed candidates will be contacted for a telephone interview. Please be sure to include a telephone number that we can use to contact you.

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