LGBTQ Peers Deserve to Feel Pride Too

Mon, 06/07/2021 – 10:44

By Kat McIntosh, Manager of Global Peer Support at Mental Health America

Everyone deserves to feel pride in their mental health. Research shows that sharing the story of your mental illness can be empowering and may enhance a person’s self-esteem[1].

In the 1970s, a mental illness diagnosis meant you were considered ill for the rest of your life and not given much hope. This hopelessness could have made it difficult for those living with mental health conditions to feel pride in their mental health.

The consumer movement, which gave rise to peer support, called for inclusion[2]. It advocated for the mantra “nothing for us, without us.” We see evidence of this movement in the principles of peer support–it is voluntary and has equally-shared power.

A peer is someone who shares your lived experience. This lived experience can be having a mental health condition, but it can also include other characteristics such as sharing a specific mental health diagnosis, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, language, or disability. Being a peer can also be a situational experience, such as being a parent or experiencing a life-altering event such as a natural disaster.

One principle of peer support is equally-shared power, but equality may not be the experience of LGBTQ peers. A recent report by the Trevor Project found that 75% of LGBTQ youth had experienced discrimination in their lifetime[3]. We need to ensure that LGBTQ peers feel included. Inclusion can help promote pride.

Mental Health America (MHA)’s screening data shows that 95% of LGBTQ youth ages 11-17 scored moderate to severe for depression[4]. Not only are LGBTQ folks experiencing challenges with their mental health, but they are also simultaneously experiencing discrimination. Ending this discrimination is vital since personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity can affect the mental health and personal safety of LGBTQ individuals[5].

It is crucial to help LGBTQ peers to feel pride in their mental health. To do this, we must advocate for acceptance and inclusion. The absence of this inclusion can cause negative impacts on mental health. Reports indicate that LGBTQ persons experience stigma, discrimination, and denial of both civil and human rights5. Trevor Project’s recent survey also showed that 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics affected their mental health.

Inclusion happens in everyday events like using chosen names and pronouns. When we use the chosen name of LGBTQ youth, it can help reduce suicidal ideation and depression[6]. Additionally, when pronouns are respected, it can minimize suicide risk by 50%.

Inclusion also means creating safety for LGBTQ folks to share their experiences without facing discrimination. In a survey of LGBTQ people, over 50% reported that they had experienced cases of providers denying care, using harsh language, or blaming the patient’s sexual orientation or gender identity for causing an illness. Fear of discrimination may lead LGBTQ folks to conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity from providers or avoid seeking care altogether. We can help create safe spaces by supporting the Equality Act and speaking up against Anti-Transgender Sports Bans.

At MHA, we believe that LGBTQ peers deserve to feel pride in their mental health. We need to build safe spaces where they can feel this pride. Building safe spaces include asking Congress to fund mental health crisis services that identify meeting LGBTQ youth and adults where they are, such as in school and community settings and not in jails or hospitals.

It also includes supporting the Promoting Effective and Empowering Recovery Services (PEERS) in Medicare Act of 2021, which promotes the use of peer support specialists as part of integrated care in Medicare. The PEERS bill is important since peer support reduces hospital admission rates, increases social support and social functioning, and decreases substance use and depression.

Take this important action and share our BIPOC LGBTQ Peer Support Survey. This survey helps ensure that the experiences of LGBTQ peers are heard. Help us ensure that LGBTQ peers feel pride in their mental health.







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The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: