The novel COVID-19 outbreak escalated the mental health crisis of the LGBTQ+ community. These crises include an increase in suicidality, anxiety, PTSD, and depression confounded with prior psychological effects such as pre-existing social inequality. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders that were established to help stop the spread, led to uniquely negative challenges for LGBTQ+ populations. These challenges included an increase in the susceptibility of school age LGBTQ+ groups in abusive and traumatic home environments, and older LGBTQ+ groups experiencing loneliness from social isolation, along with existing physical and mental health conditions (Salerno et al., 2020).

It is critical for servicing groups such as mental health therapists, to further provide online delivery of care to assuage the mental health demands brought on by COVID-19. Leadership stakeholders need to engage in efforts that encompass LGBTQ+ affirming virtual extracurricular activities that strengthen social support and connection within the community. Social Media should be utilized to connect the LGBTQ+ community with viable mental health services. Intervention efforts, such as surveillance and reporting the occurrence of LGBTQ+ child abuse, need to be established. State Laws should allow therapists to practice outside of their state licensure stipulations to reach more LGBTQ+ groups who have had to relocate due to the pandemic. In addition, ACA health plan open enrollment needs to be emphasized further, as well closing the Medicaid gap so that all uninsured LGBTQ+ persons can obtain health insurance and access to effective physical and mental health care.

Reference:

Salerno, J. P., Williams, N. D., & Gattamorta, K. A. (2020). LGBTQ populations: Psychologically vulnerable communities in the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(S1), S239–S242. https://doi-org.ruby.uhv.edu/10.1037/tra0000837

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