SAN BERNADINO, Calif. — Gays and lesbians in San Bernadino, Calif., gathered at a church there last week for a town hall meeting where statewide mental health concerns and care access issues were discussed, according to the San Bernadino Sun.
The meetings were linked to a recent report by Equality California and Mental Health America of Northern California titled “First Do No Harm: Reducing Disparities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Populations in California.”
One purpose of the meetings is to further advocate at the local level “and using the report as a tool to do just that,” said Pasha Mikalson, the director of the Sacramento-based LGBTQ Reducing Disparities Project, the Sun reported.
In the report, researchers found a “significant lack of cultural competence, knowledge and sensitivity among mental health service providers” working with the LGBT community.
The two-year study released in December was conducted in conjunction with 19 statewide members of the California LGBT Health and Human Services Network, the Sun reported. According to the report, more than 75 percent of the survey respondents said they had experienced “emotional difficulties such as stress, anxiety or depression, which were directly related” to their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, the Sun reported.