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Advocating for LGBTQ individuals and families in June

“The month of June reminds us that we can all be advocates for our LGBTQ youth and families, not only by showing solidarity for these individuals, but by supporting educational, policy and clinical changes that create safe spaces as they strengthen their emotional health and well-being.”
        — Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Executive Director of Mental Health Services
            (and Chief Clinical Officer/Chief Medical Officer-elect) Dr. Yolanda Graham

June is recognized as National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. During this time, the LGBTQ (Q stands for “questioning” or “queer”) community across the country – and its many supporters – raise awareness about the issues LGBTQ individuals continue to face in school, in the workplace and in daily life. 

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has a rich history of assisting diverse populations who need care, comfort and support. The organization stands firmly alongside LGBTQ adults and adolescents, not only to help eliminate discrimination, but to move our culture from one of tolerance to acceptance. 

LGBTQ youth face higher risks

“We know that LGBTQ youth, in particular, face an increased risk of experiencing depression, suicide, alcohol and substance abuse,” explained Graham. “LGBTQ youth also are more vulnerable to bullying, harassment and violence than their heterosexual counterparts.” 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • LGBTQ youth are nearly three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition, such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder;
  • For LGBTQ individuals, ages 10 to 24, suicide is one of the leading causes of death;
  • LGBTQ youth are four times more likely, and questioning youth are three times more likely, to attempt suicide or engage in self-harm versus heterosexual youth;
  • An estimated 20 to 30 percent of LGBTQ individuals abuse substances, compared to about 9 percent of the general population. 

“Many of our LGBTQ youth face a double stigma – one related to their sexual identity and the other related to mental illness,” continued Graham. “Devereux’s programs and services, coupled with compassionate care and family engagement, helps address individuals’ emotional needs while, at the same time, supporting their sexual and/or gender identity.” 

Devereux’s efforts to be inclusive

To help raise awareness and eliminate stigma, Devereux offers a series of training tools to provide education and resources regarding cultural competency in the workplace. In addition, the organization actively recruits, trains and supports LGBTQ staff members and foster parents, some of whom go on to become adoptive parents. 

Devereux is also proud to have a strong partnership with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the leading LGBTQ rights and advocacy organization in the nation. Our relationship with HRC began when Devereux Arizona earned the “HRC All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition” in 2012. The All Children – All Families initiative provides a comprehensive framework for agencies to establish policies and practices that welcome, support and affirm LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents. In addition to Arizona, our Florida and Georgia centers have earned the Seal of Recognition, and our Massachusetts/Rhode Island and Texas centers are undergoing the certification process. 

To learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and our legacy of helping individuals, families and communities in need, click here.

 

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