In Washington state’s King County, home to Seattle and the surrounding metro area, there has been a significant gap in services for the LGBTQIA+ community following the closure of one of the largest local non-profit organizations dedicated to serving the mental health needs of individuals throughout King County and surrounding communities.
Providence Swedish is launching a new initiative to help fill this gap by expanding mental health care and support for transgender and gender diverse communities.
“There is a significant shortage of health care professionals trained in the needs of our transgender and gender diverse communities because health profession schools often do not have a vetted curriculum,” says Dr. Kevin Wang, medical director for Providence Swedish’s LGBTQI+ Program. “This is particularly true in the field of mental health as access to trained mental health clinicians is limited due to this lack of training, the limited number of clinicians, and the insurances they accept. The transgender and gender diverse community had to rely on their creativity and resilience to develop their own support structure. We at Swedish want to partner with our transgender and gender diverse community-based organizations and leaders to provide them with the resources we have available to augment their services.”
The project seeks to partner Providence Swedish Behavioral Health with LGBTQIA+ community mental health providers and organizations to address the isolation and lack of community connections that contribute to poor mental health among transgender and gender diverse communities. This is aimed to be accomplished through designing a peer support program and establishing support groups targeting specific populations, including transgender and gender diverse BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities, and an all-inclusive/general group for transgender and gender diverse people.
“We know by now that social determinants of health are directly linked to health outcomes,” says Ash Choi, psychotherapist at Providence Swedish. “Historically, we also know that marginalized populations are often left to fight for themselves when it comes to accessing the same rights and privileges that come with being a part of the dominant culture. At Swedish, we recognize the many barriers that can come with identifying as LGBTQIA+. We understand that receiving well-informed, supportive care is not only affirming, but can also decrease anxiety and depression. We are here to partner with individuals to help improve their physical and mental wellness.”
Providence aims to provide a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment where individuals can connect with mental health providers and community members who share similar experiences, and Providence’s Well Being Trust is honored to drive help drive this important work that advances the mental health and well-being for all. Learn more: wellbeingtrust.org/innovationgrants2023.
Learn more about Providence Swedish’s LGBTQI+ Program: LGBTQI+ Program at Swedish offers comprehensive care to a diverse community – New Day NW | king5.com