Share, email, print, bookmark SOURCE reports.

This press release was issued by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office on January 4, one day before Attorney General Maura Healey is scheduled to sworn in as Governor of the Commonwealth.


[broadstreet zone=”53230″]

BOSTON – Seeking to increase access to critical mental health resources for LGBTQ2IA+ young people across Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey today issued her office’s first-ever “Mental Health and Gender-Affirming Care Resource Guide for Massachusetts LGBTQ2IA+ Young People and Their Trusted Adults.”  

The Resource Guide, intended for LGBTQ2IA+ young people, their trusted adults, and supportive community members, was developed in connection with a $1 million grant awarded to the AG’s Office by the U.S. Department of Justice for the STOP School Violence and Mental Health Grant Program in 2018.

The AG’s Office is utilizing the funding to collaborate with Sandy Hook Promise to implement and expand violence and suicide prevention training programs in middle and high schools across the state. As part of this federal grant, the AG’s Office also created this Resource Guide with the goal of providing information about specialized mental health services available throughout Massachusetts for LGBTQ2IA+ young people, a community who experiences high rates of suicide and mental illness as well as high rates of discrimination and victimization, yet traditionally has had unequal access to health care services. The Resource Guide also aims to acknowledge the roles that intersectionality and social determinants of health play in mental health outcomes of the LGBTQ2IA+ community. 

“As dangerous homophobic and transphobic policies are being enacted across the country, it is more important than ever that we support our LGBTQ2IA+ young people and ensure they have access to critical services and resources,” said AG Healey. “In publishing this Resource Guide, it is our hope that we are able to increase the visibility and accessibility of health care providers to our young people, and to better help them navigate through various financial and socio-cultural barriers to receive care.” 

[broadstreet zone=”59982″]

“There are so many caring professionals and organizations looking to support and affirm LGBTQ2IA+ people in the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Scott Hadland, Chief of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Mass General Hospital. “The LGBTQ2IA+ Mental Health Resource Guide is full of high-quality services, and it will not only save lives, but just as importantly, it will help LGBTQ2IA+ people find affirmation and thrive, all across our state.” 

“On behalf of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH), I commend Attorney General Healey and her office for their leadership in developing a Mental Health Resource Guide for LGBTQ2IA+ Youth and Their Trusted Adults,” said President and CEO of Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH), Danna Mauch. “This resource is particularly timely, as we know that LGBTQ2IA+ youth are suffering disproportionately in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This Guide will be a key resource in supporting the Commonwealth’s Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, in that it will help advance equitable access to culturally competent mental health and substance use services. This resource will remove barriers to care access for LGBTQ2IA+ Youth — a community that has been historically marginalized and is as a consequence at greatest risk for disruption of their mental health and well-being. We look forward to disseminating the Guide through the Network of Care Massachusetts website, and trust it will be a helpful tool for the new Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line call, text, and chat operators.” 

[broadstreet zone=”59946″]

“In these challenging times, mental health resources, especially for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults, are critically important in helping young people access the support that they need and deserve,” said Grace Sterling Stowell, Executive Director of BAGLY, Inc. “We applaud outgoing Attorney General and Governor-Elect Maura Healey and her team for developing this much needed and useful resource for all LGBTQ+ youth, and those who provide services for their support.” 

“LGBTQ+ youth are the targets of significant and unprecedented attacks resulting in increased need for mental health services and supports,” said Christopher Bellonci, M.D. Senior Policy Advisor, Baker Center for Children and Families. “This is a timely resource that will benefit LGBTQ+ youth and their allies in the Commonwealth and I applaud the AGO’s office for investing the time and resources to develop it.” 

“So many youths are struggling with mental health challenges these days, and we know that LGBTQIA+ youth face unique challenges in accessing mental health supports that are responsive to their needs,” said Maria Mossaides, Director of the Office of the Child Advocate. “This Resource Guide is an important step toward helping ensure LGBTQIA+ youth and the individuals who work with them are aware of the resources that do exist. The OCA was pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Office of the Attorney General in support of this project.”  

“We are currently experiencing a national behavioral health crisis among youth, however studies show that youth identifying as LGBTQ2IA+ face additional barriers to accessing quality behavioral health care,” said Amara Anosike, JD, Director of Behavioral Health Policy & Advocacy for Government Relations at Boston Children’s Hospital. “I applaud the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey for putting together a Resource Guide to support the unique mental health needs that youth identifying as LGBTQ2IA+ face.” 

“This guide is an essential resource for LGBTQ2IA+ young people and supportive adults in the Commonwealth. All youth need and deserve access to trusted mental and medical healthcare resources, and such access is vital to ensuring LGBTQ2IA+ youth have the opportunity to thrive and grow into healthy, self-actualized adults,” said Amanda Johnston, Director of Public Affairs & Education for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) “We commend the Office of the Attorney General for creating a clear and useful resource that will help thousands of LGBTQ2IA+ youth, their parents, family members, and other trusted adults navigate the landscape of providers in the state to find the care and support that best fits their needs.” 

The AG’s Resource Guide focuses on mental health providers in every county in the state who offer care that is affirming of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, including specialized services around domestic and sexual violence, housing assistance and shelter, and substance use disorder. The Guide also seeks to centralize existing services and medical options that provide support or access to gender-affirming care for members of the LGBTQ2IA+ community, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, speech therapy, or other forms of culturally competent and trauma-informed care. Research has consistently shown that having proper access to gender-affirming care is lifesaving and improves health outcomes, including mental health, of the transgender community. In Massachusetts, access to gender-affirming care is a protected civil right. All organizations listed in the Guide provide care or information to LGBTQ2IA+ populations, and many self-identify as free or low-cost and provide services in multiple languages.  

[broadstreet zone=”59947″]

In addition to information on finding a mental health provider, the Guide contains general information about mental health topics, LGBTQ2IA+ identities, as well as responses to common questions and concerns from the community. Along with featuring organizations that provide mental health care, the Resource Guide includes provider directories, which allow young people to find individual therapists using filters relevant to their specific needs and identities. There is also a Social Connection section, which lists local communities that offer acceptance to LGBTQ2IA+ youth and promote positive and inclusive youth development. 

The Resource Guide is a continuation of AG Healey’s  work to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ2IA+ community. Last month, the AG’s Office joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general in filing a brief in support of the rights of the more than 20 million LGBTQ+ Americans to live, work, and pursue education free from discrimination, following a challenge from a group of states to undermine recent guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. AG Healey also recently led a coalition urging the federal courts to uphold anti-discrimination efforts for LGBTQ+ Americans, following the termination of a substitute teacher at a North Carolina Catholic high school who was terminated after announcing plans to marry his same-sex partner. 

[broadstreet zone=”59983″]

To view the Resource Guide in full, please click here.

In the coming weeks, the Resource Guide will also be made available in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Mandarin.

This Resource Guide will be distributed to school districts and health care providers and will also be available online. 

The creation of the “Mental Health and Gender-Affirming Care Resource Guide for Massachusetts LGBTQ2IA+ Young People and Their Trusted Adults” was led by Project Manager Allison Beaufort and Director of Strategic Initiatives Elise Yannett with assistance from the AG’s Chief of Organizational Development and Inclusion April English, Director of Grants Management Nathan Gardner, Chief of the Policy & Government Division Alicia Rebello-Pradas, and staff in the AG’s Health Care Division, Civil Rights Division, Children’s Justice Unit, Community Engagement Division, and Non-Profit Organizations Public Charities Division.  

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.