LGBTQ+ Experiences of the Relationship Between Discrimination and Mental Health Care

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Foran, Elayna
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Mount Saint Vincent University
This thesis is an exploratory study which examines the experiences that LGBTQ+ individuals have in receiving mental health care in Nova Scotia, uncovering the concerns of LGBTQ+ individuals within care. The recommendations made hereinafter are intended for mental health care providers in Nova Scotia that are seeking to become more cognizant of LGBTQ+-specific issues. The literature that was used explores how LGBTQ+ people are treated in a system that has a history of pathologizing members of these communities. Participants (N=17) completed an anonymous online survey in which they were asked about their experiences in mental health care in Nova Scotia. Survey respondents noted that sensitivities related to disclosure of LGBTQ+ identity, language use, and culturally competent behaviour impacted the perceived quality of care. The analysis of this data also suggests that barriers, such as socioeconomic status or ability, are relevant to the client-provider relationship as well as to the capacity to seek care, and that accounting for the intersectional nature of a client’s identity impacts quality of care, more broadly. Overall, the recommendations presented to providers include understanding their positionality, being mindful of sensitivities related to disclosure of LGBTQ+ identities as well as other aspects of language use, the value of cultural competency training, trauma-informed practices, and understanding the barriers that impact care, such as financial barriers and long wait times.