H+H to train mental health providers on LGBTQ-affirming therapy

NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is among the H+H locations with a Pride Health Center
NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue is among the H+H locations with a Pride Health Center
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NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, which operates a public hospital system throughout the five boroughs, is launching a new campaign to better equip mental health professionals on how to provide affirming therapy for LGBTQ individuals.

H+H is working on the initiative — dubbed the LGBTQ+ Mental Health Training Project — in conjunction with the Institute for Human Identity, which is described as the nation’s first and longest-running provider of LGBTQ-affirming psychotherapy.

The plan calls for H+H’s mental health professionals to undergo a three-month program aimed at bolstering their knowledge on providing LGBTQ-inclusive therapy to patients. The program will acknowledge the unique mental health challenges and disparities facing LGBTQ people and address the impact of social stigma and minority stress, among other areas, according to H+H, which is already known for catering to LGBTQ patients with seven Pride Health Centers located around the city.

“As we continue to focus on gender and health equity across our system, this training will serve as a valuable tool, ensuring we continue to provide the highest level of affirming care to our LGBTQ+ patients receiving behavioral health services,” Ivelesse Mendez-Justiniano, vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion at NYC Health + Hospitals, said in written statement.

According to H+H, mental health experts will be trained in small groups where they will be asked to delve into their unconscious biases and negative attitudes surrounding sexual and gender diversity, which is intended to prepare providers to offer culturally-responsive, quality care for LGBTQ patients.

“Collaborating with NYC Health + Hospitals provides us not only with the opportunity to share our clinical knowledge and perspectives with a wider group of professional therapists but, most importantly, it allows us to support LGBTQ+ mental health and wellness across New York City more broadly,” Institute for Human Identity executive director Tara Lombardo said in a written statement.