Oregon LGBTQ Physical and Mental Health Resources
Biden: ‘Pride is back in the White House’
President Joe Biden is signing executive orders to thwart what the White House calls discriminatory legislative attacks on the LGBTQ community by Republican-controlled states. At the White House, Biden said, “the pride is back.” (June 15)
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning people often face disparities in access to health care.
LGBTQ youth have increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidality. But when their need for care is met, resilience increases, according to recent research.
“Oregon’s LGBTQ+ community has unique health needs both mental and physical, and our medical system, historically, was not designed to meet those needs,” said Blair Stenvick, communications manager. at Basic Rights Oregon.
Access to equitable and supportive health care can be difficult to find for members of the LGBTQ community. Here are 10 resources that can help you.
The era of youth
Youth Era’s Salem Drop Center, located on State Street, is a community space for ages 14 to 25. Everyone is welcome, but executive director Alberto Maldonado said many of the young people served at Salem Drop are members of the LGBTQ community or those experiencing homelessness.
“Everyone is safe here. Empowerment happens here,” Maldonado said.
The Drop hosts weekly events such as Artwork Wednesdays where members can create their own artwork or participate in group projects. A center corner wall is decorated with multicolored designs, many with uplifting messages such as “it’s about finding calm.” On a sheet of black paper, a young member had painted a single word in big gold letters, “GAY”.
In addition to providing social and community support, the Drop employs trained peer support specialists to help young people transition into adulthood, distributes essential supplies such as hygiene kits, and always offers meals and fresh snacks for members.
A crowd-favorite snack is “dino nuggies,” said Dice, a 17-year-old member of the Drop Center.
PFLAG is a non-profit organization that coordinates a national support network for LGBTQ people and their families. They provide a variety of services, such as training, toolkits, and resource connections.
Salem Chapter contact information can be found at pflag.org/chapter/pflag-salem or visit their Facebook page for updates on events and meetings.
Rainbow Youth, located on Capitol Street NE, is a nonprofit support center that facilitates a safe environment for young people to connect with each other, find resources, and gain an education.
Jason Staats, Founder of Rainbow Youth and current Chairman of the Board, emphasized the importance for LGBTQ youth to have a safe community to connect with their peers.
“There is no doubt in my mind that over the decades Rainbow Youth has saved lives and empowered our young people to have great self-respect and love for themselves,” Staats said.
Middle- and high-school-aged youth can attend Salem Youth Group meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month from 6-8 p.m.
Spectrum Counseling, located in Portland, provides counseling services focused on LGBTQ clients. They offer teletherapy to customers located outside of Portland for those who cannot travel.
They accept most in-network insurance and are often able to purchase the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) with pre-approval. See the “insurance and fees” tab for more information.
AIDS Cascade Project
The Cascade AIDS Project, which has a location in Portland, provides a variety of health and wellness services to LGBTQ people and people affected by HIV.
Services include HIV/STI testing, medical case management, support services and mental health, social support groups, housing services, health insurance navigation and a list of PrEP providers , including telehealth options.
North West Social Services
Northwest Human Services, which has offices at the West Salem Clinic, is focused on “creating a healthy community with respect, compassion, and acceptance for all.”
It provides a range of medical services, including reproductive health, birth control, STI testing, psychiatric medication management, counseling, hormone replacement therapy, and transgender health care. Interpreters are available for all services. They accept OHP as well as many other major medical insurances.
The OutCare Health website can be used to find an LGBTQ provider as well as other healthcare resources. Type in your location and the type of provider you’re looking for to see a list of nearby services.
Portland NAYA Family Center
NAYA Family Center is a one-stop agency that offers a range of services for Indigenous youth, adults, and families, including support groups and Two-Spirit and LGBTQ events.
Some services include their Two-Spirit Safe Space Alliance, mental health groups, referrals and resources, family wellness programs, health policy advocacy, and fitness classes.
Basic Rights Oregon
Basic Rights Oregon advocates for access to health care for underserved communities. It fills gaps in care through policy and legislative advocacy and works with partner organizations throughout Oregon.
Much of their work centers on “being proactive in preventing inequality,” said communications manager Blair Stenvick.
If you are experiencing or have experienced inequitable care, contact Basic Rights Oregon for resources and consultation. If you’re unsure about your experience, check out their “Know Your Rights” page.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline / Oregon Crisis Text Line
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is for anyone in emotional distress or in a suicidal crisis. Any assistance provided through the hotline is free and confidential.
The current hotline is (800) 273-8255, but starting July 16, the three-digit code, 988, will be available to everyone nationwide. The hotline is available 24/7.
The Crisis Text Line for Oregonians who need immediate behavioral health support is also free and available 24/7. Text OREGON to 741741 to speak with a trained, live crisis counsellor.
If you’re having trouble choosing a medical provider, Lewis & Clark Grad School’s TransActive Gender Project has this list of questions and considerations when choosing a provider.
For more resources, see the Oregon LGBT Resources website.
Sydney Wyatt covers health inequalities in the Mid-Willamette Valley for the Statesman Journal. You can contact her at SWyatt@gannett.comby phone (503) 399-6613, or on Twitter @sydney_elise44 The Statesman Journal’s coverage of health care inequalities is funded in part by the MJ Murdock Charitable Trustwhich aims to strengthen the cultural, social, educational and spiritual base of the Pacific Northwest through capacity building investments in the nonprofit sector.