Research, care, and resource availability for sexual minorities
The presentation of therapy needs that sexual minorities have has helped to prioritize specific issues relevant to treatment sessions with these populations. The care I will provide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) individuals will address such issues as the lack of their inclusion into society, discrimination, fear of coming out, and human rights deprivation. These difficulties lead to significant mental health disorders including substance use and suicidal behavior (Mental Health America, 2018). I will develop a system of interventions aimed at the recognition of the causes and teaching of skills to deal with them.
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This specialty population is associated with such cultural issues as the unmet needs of racial or ethnic minorities for psychiatric treatment. LGBTQ individuals of color might experience more mental health problems due to a higher level of stress they encounter in comparison to the white population (Jeong, Veldhuis, Aranda, & Hughes, 2016). This population shows a low rate of reporting a problem and seeking clinical help.
Many organizations provide multiple services for sexual minorities in my community. They include medical associations for LGBT, counseling and therapy centers, and special alcoholic anonymous groups for gays and lesbians (Sheets, 2016). The gap that I have detected concerns a lack of services specifically for transgender and questioning individuals. To address this gap, it is necessary to initiate research aimed at the detection of specific needs of these groups and develop appropriate services accordingly.
To bring my care about this population to the highest level, I need to collect and analyze the data concerning the most typical causes of mental health issues experienced by LGBTQ. Also, I would like to know the statistics of psychiatric disorders that occur in this population. The practice experience of therapists who have achieved positive results in sexual minorities treatment would also improve the quality of my practice.
Research improving care for sexual minorities
The relevance of this research to sexual minorities might be explained by a high level of mental health issues development in this population. Now that the legal sphere provides more opportunities for LGBTQ to be recognized as full-fledged society members, it is relevant to introduce new approaches to the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders among sexual minorities (Russell & Fish, 2016).
However, the prevalence of disorders does not reflect the presumed improvement in the societal acceptance of these populations. The research states that 1 out of 5 LGBTQ individuals does not share his or her sexual orientation or gender preference with a health care specialist (Mental Health America, 2018). The fear of being disclosed and the hazardous attitudes toward sexual minority representatives from society cause harm to these people’s safety and mental health.
The research in the field of therapy for LGBTQ is developing but still lacks some unified implications on how to resolve the issues effectively. The difficulty concerns the social character of problems sexual minorities encounter daily, including discrimination, prejudiced and judgmental attitudes, victimization, and isolation that lead to multiple mental health disorders, substance abuse, and suicide (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2018).
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Since it is impossible to provide immediate change to society’s perception of sexual minorities, it is essential to identify the most efficient ways of teaching these people skills of dealing with obstacles on their own. Proper treatment should meet all the needs LGBTQ individuals have to minimize and eliminate adverse outcomes. Therefore, the research is relevant due to the urgency of LGBTQ mental issues resolution and the need to find more accessible ways for these individuals to find help.
The research has a significant impact on my practice in therapy with sexual minorities. I will apply the data specific for a particular age, culture, gender preferences, and disorders these people experience to improve my services. According to research, young LGBTQ people entering college suffer discrimination which is even amplified for ethnic minorities (Bouris & Hill, 2017). Similarly, hazardous drinking and substance abuse are higher in sexual minority women than in heterosexual females (Jeong et al., 2016). Therefore, in my practice, I will try to develop specific interventions aimed at the identification of specific needs of patients depending on their age, race, and gender to facilitate the efficacy of the treatment.
In addition, there are significant gaps in the level of proficiency among specialists who provide services for LGBTQ patients. The existing framework of therapy for sexual minorities lacks gender sensitivity and is characterized by the implicit authority of a heterosexual therapist over a gay patient (Mental Health America, 2018). I would apply more culture, gender, and sexual orientation sensitivity to sessions with such individuals to increase the level of trust and, thus, facilitate the success of the interventions. I will need to research the most effective ways of data retrieval from a patient at the beginning of therapy and the possible approaches to communication through the framework of sensitivity.
Also, I would address not only the specific features of patients but emphasize the particular mental health disorders a person experiences. For example, the research identifies that “depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide, and substance abuse” are the most frequently observed problems sexual minorities suffer (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2018, para. 3). However, I believe there might be more specific issues that need to be detected and addressed individually. To succeed at this, I will need to investigate particular cases following the specific issues my clients might have to apply the outside experience to my practice.
Bouris, A., & Hill, B. J. (2017). Out on campus: Meeting the mental health needs of sexual and gender minority college students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 61(3), 271-272.
Jeong, Y. M., Veldhuis, C. B., Aranda, F., & Hughes, T. L. (2016). Racial/ethnic differences in unmet needs for mental health and substance use treatment in a community-based sample of sexual minority women. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25 (23-24), 3557–3569.
Mental Health America. (2018). Lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender communities and mental health. Web.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2018). LGBTQ. Web.
Russell, S. T., & Fish, J. N. (2016). Mental health in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 12, 465–487.
Sheets, C. (2016). A get-started guide to LGBT mental health resources. Web.