Creating an Inclusive Environment to Reduce Mental Health Disparities Among LGBTQIA2S Individuals

Jeff Krehely explains how members of the LGBT population continue to have worse health outcomes than their heterosexual counterparts. For example, transgender people experience disproportionate rates of psychological distress and other mental health conditions than their cisgender peers. This is due to a variety of obstacles they face when it comes to seeking mental health services, such as an inability to pay for treatment, previous negative experiences with medical care, and fear of abuse and stigma. A survey revealed that one in five transgender people reported that health care providers had blamed them for their health status.

This is just one example of the discrimination transgender people face in education, employment, health, and the criminal justice system. This has led to higher rates of severe psychological distress and suicidal tendencies among transgender people - eight and nine times higher than those in the United States as a whole. Additionally, transgender people have used illicit drugs, non-prescription drugs and marijuana at rates three times higher than those of the general population. Unfortunately, LGBTQ people have also expressed concern that there isn't enough treatment for Substance Use Disorders (SUD) for transgender people.

To address this issue, advocates who work with transgender people should be aware of the role of discrimination in the behavioral health needs of transgender individuals and strive to create inclusive spaces. This includes ensuring the proper use of pronouns so as not to misunderstand the client, using the names chosen by clients, and avoiding blaming the person for their health status. By understanding the unique challenges faced by transgender individuals when it comes to mental health disparities, we can work together to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all members of our community. This can be done by providing access to quality mental health services, increasing awareness about mental health issues among LGBTQIA2S individuals, and advocating for policies that protect their rights.

Creating an inclusive environment is essential for reducing mental health disparities among LGBTQIA2S individuals. By understanding the unique challenges faced by this population and taking steps to create a more supportive environment, we can ensure that everyone in our community has access to quality mental health services.