Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people report poorer mental health outcomes than do heterosexual, non-trans people. But little is known about their experiences with mental health services. Ontario researchers interviewed eight mental health professionals from the Greater Toronto Area who had worked with sexual and gender minorities for at least two years. They were asked about their experiences providing services to the LGBT community and to suggest ways to improve the mental health system.
The researchers found that LGBT people face three key barriers when they come in contact with the mental healthcare system: the standardized nature of the system; the limited number of LGBT-positive services; and stressful working conditions for practitioners.
The researchers make three recommendations to improve services for the LGBT community: use a more person-centred approach to providing mental health services; cover services other than psychiatry (like social work or community-based programs); and create new opportunities for those seeking careers in LGBT mental health care, such as peer supervision groups.
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