Behavioral Health Services for LGBTQI Individuals

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) recognizes the behavioral health disparities between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) population and the larger population it serves.  As such, the Deputy Secretary of OMHSAS invited representatives of the LGBTQI consumer communities and their advocates to form a workgroup that would make recommendations to OMHSAS on how to ensure that OMHSAS, county mental health programs, behavioral health managed care organizations (BH-MCOs) and mental health provider agencies can improve access to and quality of treatment and care for LGBTQI consumers.

The workgroup was formed to address issues of access to and inclusion in behavioral health services for LGBTQI consumers and convened in December 2008. It included LGBTQI consumers, family members, advocates, county representatives, BH-MCOs, OMHSAS staff, and academics. The workgroup met for six months to develop recommendations that would benefit consumers seeking or being referred to behavioral health services throughout the commonwealth by insuring quality care unimpeded by differences of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The workgroup’s process and product were inspired by a similar local project already underway in Philadelphia.

Recommendations presented to OMHSAS:
Issues of Access to and Inclusion in Behavioral Health Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex Consumers

Issues of Access to and Inclusion in Behavioral Health Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex Consumers

Issues of Access and Inclusion

In 2010 the Keystone Pride Recovery Initiative (KPRI) and OMHSAS collaborated with Mercer to form a White Paper and Executive Summary “Conversion Therapy for Gay Men and Lesbians,” which were intended to move the behavioral health system forward in addressing discrimination and the lack of appropriate services for these populations.

January, 2011 - OMHSAS announced the distribution of two bulletins, that were produced as a follow-up to the recommendations contained in “Issues of Access to and Inclusion in Behavioral Health Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex Consumers.” 

OMHSAS Bulletin 11-01, “Non-Discrimination Toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex People,”

OMHSAS Bulletin 11-02, “Guidelines to Ensure Affirmative Environments and Clinically Appropriate Services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex Consumers and Their Family Members."

Questions on these documents should be directed to the appropriate Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services field office.