Public Advocate James Releases LGBT Mental Health Resource Guide

JamesSicilianoPublic Advocate Letitia James this week released a guide of mental health resources in all five boroughs for members of the LGBT community.

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The guide provides information for LGBT New Yorkers seeking a variety of supportive services including crisis counseling; substance abuse counseling; suicide hotlines; hormone therapy; and safe HIV, Hepatitis C, and other STD testing.

“LGBT individuals and individuals coping with mental illness are two of the most harshly discriminated against and stigmatized groups in society,”

said Public Advocate Letitia James.

“Too often, LGBT individuals who live with mental illnesses feel there is nowhere to turn. We must destigmatize mental illness and work towards acceptance, so that LGBT youth and adults can seek help without fear. No LGBT New Yorker should be afraid to reach out for treatment, or feel that they have nowhere to turn for counseling and support.”

The resource guide was released Monday night at a celebration of LGBT leaders in Harlem hosted by Public Advocate James.

“Homeless LGBT youth experience high rates of mental health issues,”

said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center.

“They face terrible stressors; it is devastating to be rejected by one’s family and reduced to destitution in the streets. I thank the Public Advocate for calling attention to the mental health needs of our clients, and for her consistent advocacy on behalf of homeless youths.”

“We applaud and are appreciative that NYC Public Advocate Letitia James has taken the leadership to ensure all NYC LGBT families get access to the life-saving services that are available in the community,” said Dr. David Kilmnick, CEO of LGBT Network/Queens LGBT Center.

“While we celebrate Pride this month with parties and parades, this very important guide will give hope to thousands that are having difficulty coping with the heterosexism and transphobia that continues to permeate our society.”

Forty-two percent of LGBT youth live in communities in which they feel a lack of acceptance of LGBT people, and 30 percent have missed at least one day of school in the past month because they did not feel safe in their school environment. Also, 33 percent of transgender youth have attempted suicide. In many cases, these young people do not have access to systems in their schools and communities that would provide them with culturally competent mental health resources.

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Additionally, lesbian and bisexual women were reportedly at least twice as likely as heterosexual women to have experienced suicidal thoughts in the past year. This startling disparity demonstrates the need for LGBT women to have access to resources that provide readily available support and counseling.

Read the full resource guide here: http://on.nyc.gov/1BnPqIS

Photo credit Public Advocate Letitia James and Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center.

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