Celebrate Pride Month with these important tools from the National SOGIE Center & partners

By Angela Weeks, DBA, director, National SOGIE Center, project director, Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity.

 

Pride month is a month celebrated around the world that signifies the resilience and the strides the LGBTQI+ community has made in visibility and recognition. Some LGBTQ+ people take time to celebrate, build new friendships, advocate, or reflect on the LGBTQI+ community’s rich history. However, there is still work to be done. 

We are experiencing one of the most tumultuous times in recent history for the LGBTQI+ community and those who support them, with a constant threat to the well-being and health of LGBTQI+ people through a barrage of anti-LGBTQI+, and predominantly anti-trans, laws going into effect across the country. 

This Pride Month, we call on providers to be visible allies to LGBTQI+ people by adding statements of support to your websites, adding pronouns to the names of staff in your directories, putting LGBTQI+ symbols and messaging in places your clients will see them, attending trainings on the population, and working to make your practices as affirming and appropriate asPride 2023 possible. 

To aid in this call to action, we want to highlight important tools from the National SOGIE Center and the Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity that can help providers show up as affirming supporters and allies.

The National Center for Youth with Diverse Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression (The National SOGIE Center), provides a centralized site for accessing resources on providing culturally responsive care to children, youth, young adults with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) and their families across systems, including child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health (including school mental health), substance use systems, and housing and homelessness. In response to recent events, the National SOGIE Center has created a page highlighting federal guidance, statements from professional associations, and relevant resources demonstrating the importance to gender affirming care. 

Many providers have asked us to develop guidance on using SBIRT with Transgender and Nonbinary populations. We created this: SBIRT-TNB-Guidance-2022.pdf (lgbtqequity.org)

The Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model has been shown to be an effective approach for the identification and intervention for hazardous substance use, misuse, and substance use disorders and for reducing the potential for psychosocial and/or health problems (Babor, et al., 2007). However, application of the model for use among transgender and nonbinary (TNB) populations has yet to be fully understood and requires additional research. This document provides guidance for the utilization of the SBIRT model with TNB populations. 

We also have three webinars that can go with this tool: 

Webinar: The SBIRT Model: Assessing Alcohol & Substance Use among LGBTQ+ Populations

LGBTQ+ individuals are at heightened risk for alcohol and substance use across the lifespan as a result of myriad stressors which can result in a variety of health and mental health concerns (Hughto, et al., 2021 & Jun, et al., 2019). While the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model has been widely used among adults as a universal screening assessment for alcohol and/or substance use, there is a growing body of literature which examines its use among youth, older adults, and special populations (e.g., LGBTQ+). The SBIRT model includes a screening process to assess for risk of alcohol and/or substance use disorders via validated tools, followed by a brief intervention based on the tenets of motivational interviewing, which may or may not result in the need for a referral to care. This presentation will begin with some background on current statistics and trends related to alcohol and substance use among various segments of the LGBTQ+ community, followed by an introduction to SBIRT and each stage of the model, and conclude with a discussion about the impact of using universal screening tools and methods across a variety of practice settings.

New Adapted Prevention & Screening Resources for LGBTQ+ Young People at Risk of Harmful Substance Use

During this panel discussion, presenters will discuss recent efforts to adapt and create prevention and screening resources to serve LGBTQ+ young people. Presenters will include a first-person perspective from a trans person in recovery; implementation of SBIRT in high school settings; newly drafted guidelines for using SBIRT with transgender and nonbinary populations; and important findings about what drives harmful substance use among LGBTQ+ adolescents. An additional resource discussed during this panel is the LGBTQ Adolescent Minority Stress Tool, which represents a variety of common stressors and conversation starters which can open the door to an evidence-based approach to intervention.

Substance Use Disorders Impacting the LGBTQ+ Community

This is an interactive panel discussion on substance use disorders that impact members of the LGBTQ+ community. Panelists bring a diverse array of backgrounds ranging from lived experiences with substance use and diverse SOGIE to providing services within the LGBTQ+ community and conducting research on LGBTQ+ populations. Panelists will discuss substance use disorders across various LGBTQ+ populations, as well as the intersections of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, among other areas. 

Further, the Center of Excellence for LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity (led by the National SOGIE Center) has created several learning opportunities and tools that can improve affirming practices when working to prevent, screen, and treat for harmful substance use. Find those products and resources on our website The National SOGIE Center – Promoting the Wellbeing of LGBTQ+ People & Their Families.

Right now, more than ever, LGBTQ+ people, and especially trans and intersex people need your support. Be loud in your support and make sure they can see and hear you amidst all of the anti-LGBTQI+ efforts across the country. There are endless ways to show your support: visible pronouns, visible symbols, messaging on your website, reach out to the community, offer LGBTQI+ support services, tailor your practices, improve your protective policies, seek out new and advanced training you’ve never had before, encourage your colleagues to show their support, speak up when you witness harm being done, and keep going…even after Pride month has passed. Reach out for training and technical assistance through the National SOGIE Center, Center of Excellence for LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity, or the ATTC network

 


References


Babor, T. F., McRee, B. G., Kassebaum, P. A., Grimaldi, P. L., Ahmed, K., & Bray, J. (2007). Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) toward a public health approach to the management of substance abuse. Substance abuse, 28(3), 7–30. https://doi.org/10.1300/J465v28n03_03

Hughto, J. M., Quinn, E. K., Dunbar, M. S., Rose, A. J., Shireman, T. I., & Jasuja, G. K. (2021). Prevalence and co-occurrence of alcohol, nicotine, and other substance use disorder diagnoses among US transgender and cisgender adults. JAMA Network Open, 4(2), e2036512–e2036512. 

Jun, H. J., Webb-Morgan, M., Felner, J. K., Wisdom, J. P., Haley, S. J., Austin, S. B., ... & Corliss, H. L. (2019). Sexual orientation and gender identity disparities in substance use disorders during young adulthood in a United States longitudinal cohort. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 205, 107619. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.107619

 


About the author

Angela Weeks, DBA, brings extensive national experience creating, implementing, and evaluating programs and initiatives that improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people and communities. She has led the development of LGBTQ+ trainings and tools, policy revisions, webinars series, supported the design and implementation of interventions to support LGBTQ+ youth, and maintained resource databases and websites. In addition to directing this Center, Angela is the Project Director for The National Quality Improvement Center on Tailored Services, Placement Stability, and Permanency for LGBTQ2S Children and Youth in Foster Care (QIC-LGBTQ2S). As the Project Director for the QIC-LGBTQ2S, she has helped develop, implement, and evaluate 15 different LGBTQ+ programs and initiatives for LGBTQ+ foster youth, their families, and the workforce that serves them. She also has extensive experience supporting LGBTQ+ populations experiencing homelessness and the juvenile justice system.  She holds a doctorate in business administration from the University of Maryland’s Global Campus and a master’s in public administration from the University of Southern California.