Rainbow text that reads Be True Be and Be You with the LGBTQ+ mental health awareness ribbon.

Addressing mental health and substance use disparities among the LGBTQ+ community. 

Author: Behavioral Health
Date: 6/18/2021 12:36:16 PM

This Pride Month, Behavioral Health is raising awareness about the mental health and substance use disparities faced among the LGBTQ+ community. 

This Pride Month, the County of San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health Department is proud to be celebrating the fantastic LGBTQ+ treatment providers, researchers, educators, and leaders in the community. Pride Month reminds us of the importance of addressing the mental health and substance use disparities faced among the LGBTQ+ community. 

The recent assessment conducted by Queer Community Action, Research, Education, and Support (QCares) at Cal Poly explored the variety of barriers faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in finding community and accessing adequate and affirming mental health care in the county. In San Luis Obispo County, less than half of LGBTQ+ individuals feel like they are part of a community of people who share their sexual or gender identities. Many of the top barriers to mental health care in SLO county are specific to being LGBTQ+. 

“What really stood out to me,’ said Jill Rietjens, LMFT and Youth Mental Health Services Division Manager, ‘was the difficulty people have finding providers who are competent and knowledgeable of the issues and challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community.” According to the QCares report, 51% of LGBQ+individuals and 42% of Transgender Non-Binary (TGNB) individuals felt their mental health provider was aware and educated about LGBTQ+ people. 

Behavioral Health is proud to participate in the SLO ACCEPTance Project, a mental health training program that aims to address the long-identified need for LGBTQ+-affirming mental health services.This nine-month intensive program trains mental health professionals to provide culturally competent services for the local LGBTQ+ community. Rietjens, whose staff members recently completed the SLO ACCEPTance project, noted “we are really committed to looking into incorporating the knowledge that was gained by our staff into providing better, more affirming, inclusive, and welcoming services in our clinics.”

To learn more about LGBTQ+ mental health and substance use treatment year-round, follow Behavioral Health on Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about the Queer Cares report and SLO ACCEPTance Project, please visit www.queercares.com