Evaluation of the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) Project
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 needed 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
- Delivery of intended outcomes by the funded programs.
- Development of linkages between programs and with mainstream youth services.
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.