Closing the Gap on 2SLGBTQ+ Care: Actions for Healthcare Organizations and System Leaders

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In the face of growing demand, available options for mental health care in Ontario are struggling to meet the needs of 2SLGBTQ+ communities. It is estimated that one-third of 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians report poor mental health concerns and 40 per cent of transgender individuals have attempted suicide (with 82 per cent having contemplated suicide), compared to 4 per cent of the general population.

These statistics illuminate the harsh reality for 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians seeking mental health care today and unique barriers to access appropriate care, that have been exacerbated by the impacts of COVID-19.

In collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario, Sherbourne Health held a series of conversations with 2SLGBTQ+ communities about mental health services to understand their experiences today, and to gather ideas about how to close the gap in care. We spoke exclusively with 2SLGBTQ+ individuals – both clients of mental health services, and providers of mental health services within the community.

Providers and clients agreed that the mental health system today feels fragmented, out of reach, and complex to navigate for many 2SLGBTQ+ Ontarians. There was alignment on the need for time-sensitive action to improve the mental health, safety, and well-being of 2SLGBTQ+ people across Ontario.

The insights and ideas shared in discussion have informed the development of recommendation briefs for mental health organizations and health system leaders, with actions to take today to close the gap on care for 2SLGBTQ+ Ontarians, and to support 2SLGBTQ+ providers in caring for their communities.

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