Evaluation of the GLBTI Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative

Project Type - Mental health, Program evaluation and review


The Department of Health (the Department) appointed HOI to undertake the Evaluation of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (GLBTI) Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, also referred to as the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) Project.


In 2010, the Victorian Government announced funding of $4 million for a four year (2011 – 2015) project to target suicide prevention and positive mental health programs for young people who are same sex attracted and sex and gender diverse (SSAGD). This funding focuses on supporting programs that target those who often suffer abuse and social isolation, and fail to access youth health services. The model will focus on expanding existing community programs and services as well as two new place based initiatives that focus on engaging young people and promoting innovation. 


The objective of the evaluation was to evaluate the model, both the individual programs within it, and of the larger project of improving and extending the range of SSAGD related support services, linkages and referral pathways for mainstream youth services. Programs and services with different outcomes will need to be accommodated in the evaluation as well as evaluation of qualitatively different outcomes, from individual programs, to service linkages, to system development and capacity.


There were three broad areas for the evaluation: 

  • Implementation of the individual programs funded under the SSAGD initiative. This aspect of the evaluation :

- Determined if the programs have been effectively implemented and identify the key challenges/barriers to achieving the intended outcomes.

- Identified opportunities for further improvement of the programs and their delivery and/or address any weaknesses.

- Provided regular feedback to the seven agencies participating in the initiative to allow iterative development of effective actions.

  • Delivery of intended outcomes by the funded programs. This aspect of the evaluation: 

- Determined if the programs under this initiative have delivered the intended impacts and outcomes and if not, why not.

- Determined the impact of the investment on the health and wellbeing of SSAGD young people engaged in the programs.

  • Development of linkages between programs and with mainstream youth services. This aspect of the evaluation :

- Determined the level of coordination and cooperation between agencies through measures such as jointly produced resources, referral pathways between agencies and other joint activities.

- Measured the success of the initiative in building the capacity of mainstream youth services to support SSAGD young people, including measures such as workforce development, referral pathways, and activities between mainstream agencies.

- Provided an understanding of the experience of SSAGD young people using mainstream youth services, to test if this has improved.


Key elements of our methodology included the following: 

  • Development of an evaluation framework informed by a literature scan, document review and initial stakeholder consultations. This included the development of data collection tools – in particular a Youth Survey.
  • Formative evaluation (including qualitative and quantitative data analysis derived from stakeholder consultations and partnership analysis survey).
  • Summative evaluation (including reporting on ongoing data collection, case studies and key stakeholder interviews).
  • HOI reported annually with regard to data analysis undertaken and 6 monthly with regard to the progress made by each partnering site.


HOI delivered a Final Evaluation Report in March 2016 that identified that positive outcomes are being achieved for young SSASGD people as a result of the activity conducted by HEY Project. In particular the evaluation has identified through the survey of young SSASGD people that the client-based services of the HEY project were considered by most to be extremely effective.

At a system level it was identified that SSASGD services have been strengthened, expanded and are more visible, and that mainstream services had improved awareness of young SSASGD people, their health and their needs.

While the HEY Project has been successful in delivering a range of its intended outcomes the evaluation also identified a number of opportunities for the future direction, activity and focus of the HEY Project.