Reducing the Treatment Gap for LGBT Mental Health Needs: the Potential of Telepsychiatry

Abstract

The high prevalence of psychiatric conditions and the concomitant increase in need for mental illness have posed a challenge across the USA. Patients continue to encounter many barriers to accessing care with only 43% receiving treatment. This situation is even more challenging for LGBT individuals, who experience higher rates of some mental health conditions, with an increased risk of suicidality, due to stressors such as discrimination and trauma. Simultaneously, LGBT individuals face specific barriers at the individual level, clinician level, and systemic level. Telepsychiatry has emerged as an approach that can help overcome some of the challenges faced by LGBT individuals when it comes to healthcare access. This paper examines the ways in which telepsychiatry can overcome the aforementioned barriers and provides recommendations to enhance the quality of telepsychiatry services for LGBT patients. Recommendations include improving medical education, enhancing health-force training on cultural competency, and expanding culturally affirming telehealth programs.

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Correspondence to Emily L. Vogt.

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Whaibeh, E., Mahmoud, H. & Vogt, E.L. Reducing the Treatment Gap for LGBT Mental Health Needs: the Potential of Telepsychiatry. J Behav Health Serv Res 47, 424–431 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11414-019-09677-1

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