|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
January 15, 2013
CONTACT: Steve Roth, OutThink Partners
PHONE: 323-936-1831 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Equality California Announces Findings From “First Do No Harm: Reducing Disparities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Populations in California”
(Los Angeles) After a two-year study conducted by the Equality California Institute and Mental Health America of Northern California, in conjunction with 19 statewide members of the California LGBT HHS Network, into the efficacy of and access to mental health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning Californians, EQCAI and MHANCA are proud to announce the findings in the form of a report titled, “First Do No Harm: Reducing Disparities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Populations in California.”
The primary recommendations include:
- The development of standard sexual orientation and gender identity measures for data collection at state and county levels, and collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data on clients when they access public health services — making sure the LGBTQ community counts.
- A requirement for statewide workforce training and education in order to increase culturally competent mental, behavioral and physical health care.
- Training of service providers focused on the distinctiveness of each sector of the LGBTQ population within an overarching approach to mental health throughout the lifespan for the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of LGBTQ communities.
- Development and implementation of effective anti-bullying and anti-harassment programs for all California public schools.
- All locations where physical, behavioral or mental health care is provided should be required to be safe, affirming spaces for LGBTQ people of all races, ethnicities, cultures and ages.
- A requirement that all locations where physical, behavioral or mental health care is provided be safe, affirming spaces for LGBTQ people of all races, ethnicities, cultures and ages.
- An environment of safety and affirmation for LGBTQ employees at state and county mental/behavioral health and physical health care departments
For the report, EQCAI and MHANCA, with the 19 statewide members of the California LGBT HHS Network, reached out to LGBTQ communities throughout California to produce a comprehensive document on the disparities in mental health care access faced by LGBTQ communities, and policy recommendations for reducing those disparities.
“We know that LGBTQ people face the constant stress of unequal treatment before the law and in society, and that manifests as increased need for mental health care as a community,” said John O’Connor, Equality California executive director. “While we remain committed to fixing those larger inequities, making sure we have effective and accessible mental health care will have an immediate and lifesaving effect for the LGBTQ community.”
EQCA is scheduling a series of town hall meetings to discuss the report with the communities that contributed to it. Topics to be discussed include findings from the survey, how to affect change within local communities, and feedback from local community members on the recommendations contained in the report.
The first in this series of town hall meetings is scheduled for Thursday, January 17, at First Congregational Church in San Bernardino, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Future town halls are being planned throughout the state. For more information, visit www.eqca.org.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org