Address mental health and substance use disparities within the LGBTQ + community.


Author: Behavioral Health

Date: 06/18/2021 12:36:16 PM

This Pride Month, Behavioral Health is raising awareness of the disparities in mental health and substance use within the LGBTQ + community.

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

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

“What really stood out to me,” said Jill Rietjens, Head of LMFT and Youth Mental Health Services, “is the difficulty people have in finding competent and knowledgeable providers about the issues. and the challenges facing the LGBTQ + community ”. According to the QCares report, 51% of LGBQ + people and 42% of non-binary transgender people (TGNBs) felt their mental health care provider was aware and informed 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 intensive nine-month 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, said “we are truly committed to incorporating the knowledge gained by our staff to provide better, more assertive, inclusive and welcoming services in our clinics.”

To learn more about LGBTQ + mental health and substance abuse treatment throughout the year, follow Behavioral Health on Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about the Queer Cares report and the SLO ACCEPTance project, please visit

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