Taking PRIDE in Mental Health

In June, we celebrate the history and accomplishments of our friends in the LGBTQ+ community. An impactful history that is rich in pride and courage but also rooted in prejudice, loss, and unspeakable hardship.  This minority community is frequently misunderstood, discriminated against and underrepresented especially in our healthcare system; and studies show us that perceived discrimination leads to poorer health outcomes.

LGBTQ persons are more than twice as likely than heterosexual men and women to have a mental health disorder in their lifetime:  Most notably, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance use disorders.  LGBTQ people also have a nearly three-time higher risk of suicide or suicidal behavior.  The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health captured the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13–24 across the United States. They found that last year, 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide.

As a medical provider, we have a duty to be culturally competent so we can best serve all patients.   There is still pervasive explicit and implicit bias in our society and healthcare system towards these individuals. We must acknowledge our own implicit bias and work towards resolution to best serve our patients.   Ask patients about their preferred pronouns and use them. Screen all patients for suicide and substance abuse.  Prepare a list of specialists to whom to refer for HRT, PrEP, STD testing and psychotherapy with therapists specialized in treating the LGBTQ+ population.

Below is a list of resources for the provider looking to learn more on how they can best serve the LGBTQ+ community.

Related Resources