by Scout Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity A project of The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA
Praise where praise is due!
Sure, we have a tendency to point out when health policymakers leave LGBT people behind… but never let it be said we don’t praise inclusion just as loudly! (if a little belatedly). Well, I’m very pleased to say the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has done an outstanding job at including the LGBT population in every level of their new strategic plan. LGBTQ (questioning) people are mentioned a whopping total of 50 times throughout the document and there’s plenty of toothy initiatives to show it’s not all fluff. Including a brand spanking new action item on enhancing tobacco cessation efforts for LGBTQ folk with mental health or substance abuse issues. Weeha!
Gold star to SAMHSA’s administrator, Pamela Hyde, and special thanks to the many stalwart allies there, including: Larke Huang, Ed Craft, Nancy Kennedy, and Sylvia Fisher. Special thanks also to Barbara Warren from Hunter College and the Trevor Project folks for being some of the key community advocates (along with us) who kept helping them shape this inclusion. Great job SAMHSA! We say, A+!