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Pride Month: Creating safe, welcoming and affirming communities

Pride Month, originally established to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, marking a turning point in the LGBTQ movement, is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ community; reflect on the progress made toward equity; and to remember – there is more work to be done.

According to the GLSEN 2019 National School Climate Survey, which examines the experiences of LGBTQ youth in schools, 86 percent of LGBTQ students reported being harassed or assaulted at school because of personal characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

“At Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, we understand the importance of acceptance in the lives of LGBTQ youth and adults. Acceptance saves lives, and we work on a daily basis to ensure all of our team members adhere to this value,” said Devereux Arizona Executive Director Yvette Jackson, LMSW, DBH, who also serves as co-chair of Devereux’s national LGBTQ committee. “We also understand the word ‘ally’ is an active word. We do not passively sit by as an ally to the LGBTQ community. We actively engage, and are committed to doing our part to serve and support LGBTQ individuals.”

Mental health and LGBTQ youth, adults

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that rejection and trauma can have a significant negative impact on the mental health of LGBTQ youth and adults.

NAMI reports lesbian, gay and bisexual adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, while transgender individuals are nearly four times as likely as cisgender individuals (those whose gender identity corresponds with their birth sex) to experience a mental health condition.

In addition, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are more than twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to experience persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, while transgender youth are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms; seriously consider suicide; and attempt suicide compared to cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and questioning youth.

LGBTQ resources

If you are struggling with a mental health challenge – help is available. Look before for a list of LGBTQ resources.

Devereux’s commitment to inclusion

Devereux is proud to be a behavioral healthcare leader for the LGBTQ community. The organization supports educational, policy and clinical changes that create safe spaces to help individuals strengthen their overall emotional health and well-being.

“Our national LGBTQ committee has been working on a number of initiatives over the past few years, implementing LGBTQ inclusive policies and procedures for the youth and adults we serve, as well as our staff,” Jackson explained. “Last year, we evaluated our employee healthcare benefits to ensure they were trans-affirmative. In addition, in 2019, we adopted the American Psychological Association’s Gender Affirmative Model as our overarching clinical approach to supporting transgender and gender-expansive individuals, and developed training for our team members on how best to serve the LGBTQ community. Our goal is for those in our care to feel welcomed and affirmed to live life as their true, authentic selves.”

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s efforts to support the LGBTQ community


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