(Vienna, 13-06-2023) Stefanie Kirchner from MedUni Vienna's Center for Public Health has received an award for her dissertation in the field of suicide prevention. The Dr. Maria Schaumayer Foundation Award supports scientific research and achievements by Austrian women to help them on their career path.
The FWF project, which was carried out at MedUni Vienna from 2018 to 2022, investigated the effect of "It Gets Better" suicide prevention videos on LGBTQ+ youth, i.e. teenagers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer, or who feel they belong to another sexual or gender minority. In these videos, primarily LGBTQ+ adults narrate crisis situations (mostly from their youth or coming out) and how they successfully overcame them. Results have shown that narratives about overcome crises seem to have a positive effect on LGBTQ+ youth, especially for nonbinary/transgender youth with depressive symptomatology. Identification with the person featured in the video was key to the impact of suicide prevention messages. "However, the videos overall were not representative of all LGBTQ+ groups, and more videos are needed that should be tailored especially to the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in order to reach and thus appeal to more people," says Stefanie Kirchner, who analyzed the project in her dissertation
About Stefanie Kirchner:
Stefanie Kirchner, born 1991 in Vienna, studied Public Health in Vienna and Epidemiology in London. She completed her PhD studies in Public Health at the Medical University of Vienna from 2018-2022. Since 2018, she has been a research associate at the Center for Public Health in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, conducting research on suicide prevention, mental health, and media influences.