Theme 3. Expanding your reach
The Rainbow Health Organization reports, “due in part to negative past experiences, many LGBT people may delay or avoid seeking health care altogether.” A report released by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, found that only 57% of LGBTQ-identified respondents were out to their family physician. The isolation experienced by LGBTQ people can lead to a higher rate of alcohol and drug use, smoking, mental health issues and suicide (Peterkin and Risdon, 2003). Some members of the LGBTQ community may be reluctant to enroll with a family practice, or disclose certain aspects of their personal history unless they are certain that they will be completely welcome. The Hamilton Family Health Team is comprised of 166 family physicians and their primary care teams. We are committed to inclusion and access for all citizens of Hamilton. The HFHT Positive Working Group was formed in 2012 to discuss ways to create a more LGBTQ friendly organization for our patients and for our providers. This presentation will explore the steps taken, the outcomes and impacts; most specifically those related to developing greater cultural and clinical competency to respond to the mental health needs of LGBTQ persons. Participants will be invited to analyze their own settings and share related learnings.
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