Best Practices for Mental Health Facilities Working With LGBT Clients

Because LGBT people are members of a minority group that is the target of social stigma, mental health facilities and their personnel who serve people with serious mental illness face important challenges in addressing the needs of LGBT clients. These challenges include the following:

  • Educating staff to foster inclusive behaviors

  • Addressing harassment and intolerance of peers who are also in the treatment program

  • Implementing training requirements for personnel

  • Developing program policies that recognize the needs of LGBT clients

  • Acknowledging the emotional and sexual lives of LGBT clients

The following list of resources below is provided to assist people who work with LGBT clients in addressing these issues.

Understanding the Concerns of LGBT Clients

Recommendations and Policies for Developing Affirmative Therapeutic Environments

Program Models for LGBT Clients

  • Rainbow Heights Club
    Organization in New York founded by Huygen that provides socialization, support, peer advocacy and a safe place for LGBT people with mental illness to gain additional assistance in emotional recovery and wellness.

  • A sense of belonging
    Christian Huygen, PhD, has created a club where mentally ill LGBT patients feel safe.
    Monitor, February 2011

  • Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center
    Clinic based in Los Angeles that provides low-cost healthcare, including mental health and social support services for LGBT people.

General Resources on Serious Mental Illness