Healthcare services, while designed to assist people with health concerns and well-being risks, are not equally accessible. Various demographics encounter limited resources when it comes to health care. One of the minorities that experience such negative outcomes is the LGBTQ+ community. Despite being at major risk for certain conditions due to socioeconomic challenges, LGBTQ+ individuals are marginalized when it comes to the provision of high-quality, inclusive, and unbiased services. In this paper, the disparities will be highlighted, and a health promotion strategy will be discussed regarding legislative changes.
Mental Health Disparity in LGBTQ+
Researchers have been focusing more and more on LGBT communities’ mental health outcomes during the past five years. The databases PsycINFO, PubMed, and EBSCO Psychology and Behavioral Science Collection were searched for literature on LGBT people’s differences in minority stress and mental health. Studies with this information were released between January 1, 2014, and June 30, 2018 (Fish, 2020). The following standards were applied to evaluate all gathered articles: An English-language study with over 50 participants focused on the clinical consequences of drug abuse, suicidality, and depression in connection to minority stress (Fish, 2020). The findings are organized under three primary topics, but depression is the main subject of many studies (Goldhammer, Maston, Kissock, Davis, & Keuroghlian, 2018). Studies on suicide and suicide attempts and papers exploring the relationship between drug use and minority stress in LGBT populations are vital topics.
Statistical disparities illustrate the extent of the problem. According to researchers, more than 15% of bisexual and lesbian women have asthma compared to less than 10% of heterosexual females (Casey, 2019). The same report highlights the risks the transgender community faces, with 65% of young trans individuals reporting having suicidal ideations within the last year, with similar rates of depression. While current literature vaguely illustrates the severity of the issue, more research is required. Creating substantial datasets and gathering comparison data may be categorized into seven primary research methods. It is also seen as a great way to address the topic of LGBT+ older people’s diversity and intersectionality (Fish, 2020). Research on the ability of health services to offer effective medical treatment for LGBT+ people and the corresponding requirements for education and training is also necessary. Furthermore, creating a paradigm for LGBT+ health equity and applying social justice principles are interconnected notions. To assist and inform public policy, health promotion, and healthcare, this will produce helpful, change-driven data.
The Requirements for the Health Promotion
Promoting the mental health of LGBTQ adolescents requires individual-level care. Nevertheless, many people who require psychiatric care never do. Therefore, efforts should be made to diversify delivery modes of LGBTQ-sensitive mental health treatment to the larger public and create therapy modalities that have received scientific validation to help LGBTQ kids. Researchers mention the importance of recognizing the presence of stigma before implementing practical strategies (Kahn, Alessi, Kim, Woolner, & Olivieri, 2018). These clinical methods are crucial for creating and modifying evidence-based treatment plans. Cognitive behavioral therapy and attachment-based family therapy are two examples. However, it is impossible to disregard the limitations of individualized care.
Description of the Health Promotion Strategy
The primary health strategy is to implement policy reforms at the macro level to improve the lives of LGBTQ teenagers. Politics aid in protecting LGBT individuals in a culture that is consistently hetero- and cis-normative. However, it takes time for these measures to take effect. Research mobilization is still urgently required to advance LGBTQ mental health on a bigger scale. Given the persistent inequities in LGBTQ youths’ mental health, the need for specialized programs for LGBTQ individuals is still a critical problem. A critical gap exists in comprehensive, research-based prevention and intervention programs intended to support young people’s positive development and mental health. Moreover, health promotion can be addressed through education, hence, including LGBTQ+ appropriate coverage during medical studies of future doctors (Bleasdale, Wilson, Aidoo-Frimpong, Gabriel, & Przybyla, 2022). As a result, the new generation of healthcare providers will know how to address certain demographics adequately. The strategy is evidence-based and supported in current literature, as exemplified prior. All the aforementioned strategies require policy-level changes.
Although there are familiar stories among LGBTQ adolescents, the experience is not isolated from other social identities and situations. Despite underrepresentation in mainstream research, intersecting views on the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ kids have significant implications for comprehending and enhancing their life experiences and mental health. Little research examines it, even though many studies admit that the experience is probably particular to LGBTQ children of color (Wilson & Conron, 2019). This demonstrates the distinction between young people’s healthy growth and normative development processes. Similar to this, there is a process through which the mental health of young sexual minorities has been impacted by interconnected experiences of oppression related to sexual orientation and race or ethnicity.
While the descriptive study is essential for detecting specific risks, understanding the lived experiences of LGBTQ kids of color and—more importantly—developing multi-level support methods for them requires a focus on normative development and resilience processes. Parental support for the connection between homophobic persecution and mental health is waning (Mongelli et al., 2019). The strategy is supported by the aforementioned researchers and is considered effective in determining the aspects that lead to negative health outcomes, which can later be addressed. The frameworks, such as policy changes and screening implementations, have been actively applied in hospitals. Moreover, the Joint Commission acknowledges the disparities and encourages more medical institutions to adhere to nondiscrimination measures concerning gender identity and orientation and collect data (Cahill, 2017). Thus, since one of the most influential healthcare entities in the industry suggests the tactics to be employed, the evidence supports the strategy’s efficiency to be high.
Barriers to Accessing Health Promotion Strategies
The adolescents of today who identify as LGBTQ+ are developing within a period of rapid social and political change surrounding LGBTQ rights and visibility. This population segment is still susceptible to mental health issues. There is still a severe need for comprehensive, evidence-based prevention and intervention programs, and these measures are intended to enhance the mental health of LGBTQ individuals. These initiatives should typically encourage LGBTQ youth’s good growth and mental health. There are six factors for the future of science and practice to encourage advancement in research and translation. To begin, one should investigate the chronology of events and consider the disparities in LGBTQ (mental) health from a life-cycle viewpoint. Healthcare disparities often result from stigma and prejudice, which ultimately lead to physical and psychological issues (MOHLTC, 2017). Thus, a barrier is determining the complex occurrence of health disparities and combining sociology with medicine.
It is crucial to comprehend how research may be used to study the complexity of LGBTQ youths’ lived experiences in the numerous environments they encounter daily. Studying the diversity of LGBTQ youths’ experiences and mental health is equally crucial (Mongelli et al., 2019). They understand the importance of community collaborations in creating and assessing evidence-based tools and initiatives (Kahn et al., 2018). Consideration should be given, in particular, to resources and information intended to support LGBTQ youth’s healthy development and mental well-being (Kahn et al., 2018). It is essential to acknowledge the potential of team science to develop knowledge and methods for the health and well-being of LGBTQ adolescents. The critical needs of LGBTQ adolescents worldwide are the main emphasis of these future directions.
Ethical principles and treatment standards for most mental health institutions have taken LGBTQ issues into account. Nonetheless, new developments in therapeutic therapies for LGBTQ individuals continue to emerge (Drescher & Fadus, 2020). Attachment-based family therapy, relationally oriented therapy, and ESTEEM are examples of recent developments in the aforementioned clinical approaches. Although still in the process of becoming more frequently used and studied, these therapy methods show some initial promise in enhancing the mental health of LGBTQ kids. However, barriers such as a lack of cost resources, unwillingness to adhere to treatment plans, and a lack of support from family and community members can minimize the progress.
Adopting legislative changes to enhance the lives of LGBTQ teens is the primary health strategy, including health policies and curriculum changes for future doctors. To make further progress with LGBTQ mental health on a larger scale, research mobilization is still badly needed. The necessity for specialized services is still a major issue due to the ongoing disparities in LGBTQ teenagers’ mental health. This strategy is effective based on the aforementioned research conducted concerning the importance of LGBTQ+ education in academic institutions. For the strategy to be improved, LGBTQ+ issues are to be discussed both from a health and social perspective. Thus, future doctors will be able to address the problems through a complex intervention and overview of the circumstances.
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Casey, B. (2019). The health of LGBTQIA2 communities in Canada. Report of the Standing Committee on Health.
Drescher, J., & Fadus, M. (2020). Issues arising in psychotherapy with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. FOCUS, 18(3), 262-267. doi:10.1176/appi.focus.20200001
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Kahn, S., Alessi, E. J., Kim, H., Woolner, L., & Olivieri, C. J. (2018). Facilitating mental health support for LGBT forced migrants: A qualitative inquiry. Journal of Counseling & Development, 96(3), 316–326. doi:10.1002/jcad.12205
MOHLTC. (2017). Health equity impact assessment: LGBT2SQ populations supplement. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Mongelli, F., Perrone, D., Balducci, J., Sacchetti, A., Ferrari, S., Mattei, G., & Galeazzi, G. M. (2019). Minority stress and mental health among LGBT populations: An update on the evidence. Minerva Psichiatrica, 60(1). doi:10.23736/s0391-1772.18.01995-7
Wilson, B. D., & Conron, K. J. (2019). LGBTQ Youth of Color Impacted by the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems: A Research Agenda. System-involved LGBTQ Youth of Color. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.21937.53600