226600 Perceived Satisfaction with Mental Health Services in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Transsexual Communities in Ontario

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dorina Simeonov, BHSc, MSc Candidate , Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
Lori E. Ross, PhD , Social, Equity and Health Section, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada
Scott Anderson, MPH , Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada
Andrea Daley, MSW, PhD , Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
Leah S. Steele, BA, MD, PhD , Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals are more likely to experience mental health disorders, which leads them to access services more frequently in North America. Although few quantitative data are available regarding the mental health service utilization experiences of transgender and transsexual people, qualitative evidence suggests these communities experience barriers to accessing supportive mental health care. The objectives of this study were to: 1) compare perceived satisfaction of mental health services for LGBT and cis-gender heterosexual people in Ontario, 2) to ascertain what types of negative experiences LGBT people report associated with their service use, and 3) to explore differences in the experiences of those accessing public versus private mental health care. Using an internet-based survey administered over 5 months, we collected mental health service utilization data from 62 cis-gender heterosexuals and 278 LGBT participants. The sample was mostly under the age of 25, White, living in the Toronto area and having suffered from or received a diagnosis of a mood disorder. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found no significant difference in satisfaction between LGBT people and cis-gender heterosexuals (x2=0.128, p=0.721): approximately 80% of the sample was satisfied with the provider they saw most in the last year. Degree of satisfaction was not associated with whether the service accessed was privately or publically funded. However, 33.7% of the LGBT sample reported stopping the use of mental health services in the past due to discriminatory experiences, and trans individuals were 2.6 times more likely than cis-gender individuals to report this. Furthermore, over half of the LGBT sample reported an unmet need for mental health care in the past 12 months. These data suggest that although many LGBT people in Ontario are satisfied with the mental health care they receive, discriminatory experiences are common, and many in our communities remain without needed care.

Learning Areas:
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Compare LGBT and heterosexual experiences with mental health services. Identify emerging trends in LGBT mental health service utilization. Demonstrate use of internet surveys as an effective tool to reach hidden populations.

Keywords: Mental Health Services, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am in the field of health sciences and have expertise regarding mental health services research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.