October 25, 2022 | Upswing Partners
Deborah Levine, Senior Director of LGBT YouthLink, a division of CenterLink (a former grantee partner) hosted a Learning Session for the Upswing network earlier this month to share about a new, free, digital mental health tool they co-created for queer teens: imi (eye-me).
Developed by Hopelab in partnership with CenterLink, the It Gets Better Project, and hundreds of LGBTQ+ young people across the U.S., imi is a digital mental health tool that helps LGBTQ+ teens explore and affirm their identity and learn practical ways to cope with sexual and gender minority stress.
imi provides supportive and affirming resources, activities, and stories from LGBTQ+ youth based on areas of interest and need (minority stress, queerness and LGBTQ+ identity, internalized stigma, and gender identity and expression).
A broad and diverse group of young people supported the co-creation of imi through an equitable and inclusive design process guided by Hopelab to ensure that the language used and content central to imi was accessible, relevant, and inclusive. Notably, imi was designed for QTBIPOC teens (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). The design and research efforts to create and test imi were intentionally focused on BIPOC and trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming youth.
In the video presentation above, Deborah discusses:
Deborah (she/her) has been championing the health needs of adolescents for the greater part of her career, working for a decade as the Director of Online Health Education at Planned Parenthood. Prior to that, she worked at a local Planned Parenthood providing career development training for youth serving professionals and managing a peer education program. Her insight into the experiences of youth is furthered by her background in education; she taught American history at Boston area public high schools.
She is the founder of Q Chat Space, an online LGBTQ+ space where teens can join live, chat based, professionally facilitated support groups. As such, Deborah is highly familiar with both the health needs of sexual and gender minority youth and the ability of digital technology to help in meeting those needs in highly innovative ways.
In her current role at YouthLink, Deborah oversees Q Chat Space, is responsible for imi.guide, a free, digital, research-backed, mental health tool, and supports the development of youth programs at LGBT community centers across the country through networking opportunities for program staff, peer-based technical assistance and training, and a variety of capacity building services.