Each week LGBT HealthLink, a Program of CenterLink, brings you a round-up of some of the biggest LGBTQ wellness stories from the past week.
You can LISTEN to our Weekly Wellness Roundup podcast! Subscribe here: https://bit.ly/LGBTWellnessPodcast or where ever you podcast.
New App Provides Support to LGBT Youth
The Roundup interviewed LGBT YouthLink’s director, Deborah Levine, on their new mental health app for youth called imi that was developed with Hopelab and It Gets Better Project. The app helps teens to explore their identities and develop or maintain good mental health and launched on June 1, just in time for Pride Month. The science-backed app was developed over a two-year period that included working extensively with youth to ensure it would meet their most pressing needs. It includes stories from other LGBT youth, activities, strategies for dealing with stress, and more. Deborah also talked about how this initiative builds off of LGBT YouthLink’s work on Q Chat Space, a platform that provides online discussion groups for LGBT teens. You can learn more about LGBT YouthLink here and be sure to check out our podcast for the full interview on this week’s episode.
Guidance Issued on Monkeypox
WHO published guidance aimed at sexual minority men with respect to the new outbreak of monkeypox, which has been reported in multiple countries with a disproportionate number of cases among sexual minority men. WHO notes that while everyone should be on alert with respect to the outbreak, the higher number of cases among bisexual and gay men – and the way that the virus spreads through close contact – could put LGBT communities at higher risk. They encouraged those working in public health to engage in outreach to inform LGBT communities on what they need to know.
Debate Over Communicating New Outbreak
Meanwhile, The Atlantic published an op-ed exploring the challenges of balancing the need to alert sexual minority men to the increased risk within their community – especially with Pride Month upon us – while not wanting to have monkeypox depicted as a “gay disease.” The article reflects on the extreme stigma connected to HIV that resulted in many people not getting tested at all, but also the risk of not informing the community. The author proposes direct outreach from public health personnel to gay and bisexual men via social media and other virtual platforms, particularly for those whose local health provider may not be as up-to-date on the risk.
Making Healthcare Orgs More Inclusive
The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute published a guide for how healthcare institutions can implement LGBT-affirming organizational and human resources policies, which they say could help to improve the experience of LGBT patients seeking care. These steps include ensuring that recruitment and advancement opportunities are inclusive of LGBT providers and employees, creating an LGBT-inclusive physical environment (e.g., signaling it is a safe space and having gender neutral restrooms available), and developing partnerships with LGBT organizations and individuals. The Education Center also published an update to its previous report on implementing LGBT-inclusive data collection policies in healthcare settings.
LGBT Views on Health Insurance
Forbes reported on a new survey finding that one in eight LGBT individuals has experienced discrimination by their health insurer, with reports being much higher among younger age groups than older LGBT adults. Additionally, a majority of participants did not know if their insurance covered a variety of services disproportionately sought by LGBT individuals. Still, 32% of participants felt that health insurance was improving for LGBT people, compared to only 13% who felt that it was getting worse. The sample in the 520 person survey appeared to be better insured and better off financially than the average LGBT American, meaning that population-wide numbers could be more concerning.