Pride Month Focus: How Mental Health Facilities Can Support LGBTQ Clients

Pride Month is celebrated every year in June to remind us of and honor the riots for gay liberation that took place in the 1960s. The first pride parade happened in 1970, but it took almost 30 years for June to be officially recognized as pride month in the US. Today, we celebrate it to […]


Pride Month is celebrated every year in June to remind us of and honor the riots for gay liberation that took place in the 1960s. The first pride parade happened in 1970, but it took almost 30 years for June to be officially recognized as pride month in the US. Today, we celebrate it to promote the self-affirmation, equality, dignity, and visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people as a social group. 

A banner for pride month and mental health support

LGBTQ rights are always the focus of this month, but we would like to shed some light on the topic of Pride Month and mental health. The LGBTQ group faces many challenges, both from the outside world and from within. In their efforts to address those challenges, they can often slip into addiction. All of this can impair their mental health, which is why it is on us, mental health centers, to offer a safe space to support the LGBTQ community. We Level Up Treatment Centers are making everyday efforts to be inclusive, individualize treatment approaches, and aid anyone in need of mental health assistance in a personalized way.

Understanding the Unique Needs of LGBTQ Clients

The LGBTQ group can still be considered a marginalized group due to their unequal treatment on many occasions. They are still facing discrimination and stigma. Others may look upon them differently because of a lack of understanding and acceptance. Their preferences and choices are still heavily misunderstood, making them face stigma on a daily basis. 

Some challenges may come within. LGBTQ individuals may be confused by their own feelings and desires, especially if they grew up in less open communities and environments. Feelings like shame, guilt, or anxiety can become prevalent in their lives. Not being able to come out and live their true selves can cause depression and lead to isolation or unhealthy coping mechanisms, like substance use. Research shows that the LGBTQ community has higher rates of substance use and substance use disorders

Additionally, some members of the LGBTQ group are facing not just sexual orientation questions but gender identity questions as well. Being unsure about any aspect of one´s identity can cause a mental health crisis and an overwhelming sense of being lost. In those times when environmental support is lacking or just isn´t enough, seeking professional help and paying attention to Pride Month can mean all the difference. 

A paper herat in the Pride month colors.
We celebrate Pride Month to promote the equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people as a social group. 

Finding LGBTQ-Friendly Treatment Centers

Anyone looking for mental health support needs safety and acceptance. Still, this need might be even more prominent in those identifying as LGBTQ, especially if they face repeated discrimination or traumatic events triggered by the lack of understanding and acceptance by others. Being LGBTQ-friendly can, unfortunately, sometimes be just a part of marketing strategy, imposing another challenge to this community: choosing a genuinely LGBTQ-accepting facility to aid them.

Here are some red flags to be mindful about. Most of them you can discover in communication with the facility and the staff:

  • Using outdated terminology (e.g., transexual). Staff should at least have a basic grasp of correct terms and affirming language. 
  • Understanding the meaning of the identity (especially when it´s not mainstream). Without actual understanding, psycho-pathologizing can take place and make you feel not seen. 
  • Asking inappropriate questions. Some LGBTQ individuals may be insulted or hurt by misplaced questions and comments, making assertiveness in recovery an essential skill for anyone working with this group. 
  • Not respecting pronouns, yours, or other people in your life (on the other hand, asking about your pronouns is a great positive sign).
  • Not understanding the intersection between mental health and the diversity of societal response to LGBTQ (this is why pride month and mental health topic is so important). Examples would be understanding homophobia at home or in the workplace and processing these concepts in psychotherapy. 
  • Believing that all the problems LGBTQ individuals are facing are coming from their identity. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer is just a part of who they are. Their problems and mental health issues can be triggered by the same causes as heterosexual people and not be in any way related to their sexual orientation or sexual identity. 
  • Not having experience with dysphoria. This is specifically important for transgender individuals, although body dysphoria affects people irrelevant to their gender identity. 

As mentioned, all of these signals can only be read in communication. It´s on you to try to discover them over a call or a visit to the facility. You can also turn to the community and seek recommendations. Google reviews are another source of other people’s experience. Taking an active participation in the pride month can also be a small but significant green flag.

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Creating a Safe and Affirming Environment

True LGBTQ acceptance is more than just having your doors open for this community. It´s understanding the specificities of their identity and circumstances and creating a safe and affirming environment. Using a non-judgemental approach and identity-sensitive communication should be the base of mental health work with the LGBTQ community, but additional efforts can and should be made.

LGBTQ spelled with letters made out of clay.
Pride Month is a great time to discuss the link between Pride Month and mental health and to address the specificities of working with LGBTQ individuals.

For Instance, ensuring that transgender individuals are housed with their self-identified gender during the residential treatment can make an essential difference in their treatment. Understanding that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals, although belonging to the same group, have different needs, or that LGBTQ youth can have different needs compared to LGBTQ elderly, is another green flag when choosing a mental health or rehab facility. 

This understanding and knowledge of staff is only possible if they stay open and work on themselves. LGBTQ-sensitive language, for example, changes over time, so staying up to date with it can help the community stay visible at all times, not only during Pride Month. Constantly educating yourself and learning about the cross-section of Pride Month and mental health can keep a professional non-biased and aware of the variety of experiences LGBTQ individuals are facing.

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Comprehensive and Inclusive Treatment Approaches at We Level Up Treatment Centers

We at We Level Up Network take great pride in our ability to address the specific needs of our clients and tailor treatments with individual stories in mind. Not just during Pride Month, but always. Open, non-judgmental, and inclusive approaches are the backbone of our inpatient mental health treatments.

We rely on a holistic approach when designing treatments, and we strive to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. In doing so, we pay much attention to your identity and what feels right for you. Our medicine-assisted detox always takes into consideration the medications our clients are using, including our transgender clients and the hormonal therapies they are on. We are ensuring you get the right support, not just from us but also from support groups that are indispensable in some of our programs. 

Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer frequently comes with discrimination, stigma, and traumatic events, which more often than not result in mental health problems and dysfunctional coping strategies, such as substance abuse. Understanding the complexity of circumstances and co-occurrence of mental health issues, our dual diagnosis treatment centers offer specially crafted programs for members of the LGBTQ community. Our efforts to be inclusive are surpassing Pride Month and are a long-term commitment.

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Addressing Common Issues Faced by LGBTQ Clients

Although not all members of the LGBTQ community will struggle, those who do often come with the same kind of challenges: facing stigma, discrimination, and peer pressure. Some also struggle with self-acceptance and guilt related to sexual orientation or gender identity. Others might be quickly labeled, and the environment can have expectations of them in terms of attitudes or behaviors. 

All these expectations, pressures, and problems can culminate in mental health issues. LGBTQ individuals are, compared to heterosexual individuals, more likely to experience mental health conditions, including major depressive episodes and serious thoughts of suicide. Having all this in mind, we ought to think of the mental health of this community more frequently, not just at the time of Pride Month and mental health awareness.

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We Level Up LGBTQ Addiction Treatment Benefits

The majority of We Level Up Treatment centers offer rehabilitation for those struggling with substance use. We personalize our approach, consider individual circumstances and preferences, and always have the needs and best interests of our clients in mind. This also means being mindful and respectful of individual differences, cultural milieu, and specificities of communities we are working with, like the LGBTQ community.

Being able to tailor an LGBTQ mental health and addiction treatment for those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer brings us joy, as we are more than capable of addressing any individual need and creating a place of safety and acceptance for those often feeling alone and judged.

Choosing accredited and highly reviewed programs is crucial for ensuring high-quality care. At We Level Up Treatment Centers’ inpatient rehab programs provide world-class, comprehensive treatment, giving the patients the best chance for recovery. The presence of round-the-clock medical professionals plays a big role in delivering continuous support, addressing both physical and mental health needs 24/7. This level of care ensures that our patients receive personalized and immediate attention, which is essential for effective rehabilitation and long-term success.

Two women hugging for pride month and mental health
Promoting acceptance and inclusion is a long-term commitment, not only a pride month topic.

Pride Month and Mental Health: Main Takeaways

June is a perfect month to speak of the intercorrelation of Pride Month and mental health, but the topic of the mental health of LGBTQ individuals ought to be addressed throughout the year. Everyone deserves recognition and acceptance, and it´s on mental health experts to create a safe and non-judgmental space for those in need.

All We Level Up Network personnel do their part of the job by living and promoting inclusion, understanding, and equal care for all our clients, regardless of their sex orientation and gender identity, race, or religious views. We invite everyone to join us in creating a more understanding and accepting society. And for all your mental health and/or addiction needs and inquiries, make sure to contact us on our mental health hotline. Happy Pride Month, everyone!

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Sources:

Abuse, N.I. on D. (n.d.). LGBTQI+ People and Substance Use | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). [online] nida.nih.gov. Available at: https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/lgbtqi-people-and-substance-use.

SAMHSA (2023). SAMHSA Releases New Data on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Behavioral Health. [online] www.samhsa.gov. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/20230613/samhsa-releases-new-data-lesbian-gay-bisexual-behavioral-health.