May is Mental Health Awareness Month. During this month let us pause for a moment and recognize that minorities and marginalized individuals experience mental health and substance abuse disparities at a higher rate than their privileged counterparts. This becomes even truer when we look at the intersection of marginalization. Health care systems are one of the places that LGBTQ individuals experience these disparities. Heritage Health recognizes this and has worked diligently for the past five years to reduce these disparities by creating an LGBTQ Advisory Committee; sending counselor and provider champions to conferences focused on trans health care, and other LGBTQ centered health issues; providing education and training to staff.
Heritage Health offers services to meet the needs of the whole person including health care, substance abuse treatment, street medicine, psychiatric care, dental care, and a wide array of mental health services. Our medical providers and mental health providers work hand-in-hand to coordinate care and provide comprehensive care. The LGBTQ Advisory Committee works to support these efforts for marginalized persons by working to address the unmet needs of LGBTQ patients and clients by spreading awareness; increasing training opportunities for staff; advising inclusive practices in HH policy and procedure; participating and providing support for LGBTQ community events.
Family Support Services of Heritage Health, our mental health clinic, will begin offering an LGBTQ therapy group as soon as it is safe to meet in person. Group description: Interactive and psychoeducational sessions aimed at encouraging constructive behaviors and healthy ways of coping in a safe and supportive environment for the people of the LGBTQ+ community. This group will be held on Wednesdays 5:15-6:00 pm. For more information please call Melinda Soltys, LMSW at 208-769-4222.
Heritage Health has medical and mental health services in Coeur d’Alene, Kellogg, Post Falls, Rathdrum, and St. Maries.
Article by the LGBTQ Advisory Council at Heritage Health