A national framework for recovery-oriented mental health services: guide for practitioners and providers

Capability 2E: Responsive to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, their families of choice, and communities

Page last updated: 2013

Recovery-oriented mental health practice and service delivery recognises and affirms sexuality, sex or gender diversity.

Core principles

  • Recovery-oriented practice recognises and affirms diversity in sexuality, sex or gender.
  • Recovery-oriented practice recognises the negative impact of discrimination, stigma and phobia on the wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
  • Recovery-oriented services recognise these populations as high risk and ensure safe and welcoming environments and services free from discrimination.
  • Recovery-oriented services ensure a culturally competent and safe workforce that is knowledgeable and responsive to the lived experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Characteristics

Values and attitudes

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • are affirming of diverse sexuality, sex or gender
  • do not tolerate discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people
  • demonstrate empathy for the impact that stigma, discrimination and prejudice can have on these people’s mental health
  • respect intersex and other people’s right to choose their own gender and, if they choose, to not conform to gender norms Top of page

Knowledge

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • know current trends in the field of service provision for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people
  • know cultures, identities, jargon and common experiences of discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people
  • understand the fear of discrimination or violence experienced by many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people people
  • critically analyse dominant and normative cultural assumptions, beliefs and values about sexuality
  • know the specific issues affecting intersex people, for example, trauma from childhood genital surgery, hormone use, being forced to conform to norms, or family secrecy
  • know local and online community-specific support groups and organisations and practitioners who welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people
  • know advocacy organisations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people
  • know the layers of stigma and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people people who also have a disability, are from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, or identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

Skills and behaviours

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • establish rapport with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and understand where presenting concerns are related to diverse sexuality, sex and gender
  • use gender-neutral and inclusive language
  • use a transgendered person’s preferred pronoun
  • advocate for and support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people people’s self-advocacy
  • acknowledge and make use of a person’s key sources of personal support, including their partner or close friends
  • work with consumers to prevent discrimination
  • consult lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people people about whether to record their diverse sexuality, sex or gender on their records, and how they would like their personal information to be recorded, used and shared Top of page

Recovery-oriented practice

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • demonstrate understanding of and respect for people of diverse sexuality, sex or gender and their carers
  • provide a welcoming environment in waiting rooms, for example, display rainbow stickers, service pamphlets and posters affirming diversity
  • form partnerships with organisations and services that are targeted specifically to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people
  • include appropriate options on forms such as intake, incident and feedback forms
  • ensure organisational promotional material is welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people people and provides accurate information on the mental health risks they experience
  • seek out and embrace training in cultural competency

Recovery-oriented leadership

Mental health practitioners and providers...
  • proactively incorporate responsiveness to the lived experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in organisational policy and practice
  • use research and evidence to support staff to improve practice, service delivery and outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and their partners and families
  • analyse their performance in working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people as part of an ongoing assessment of their experiences
  • collect information about diverse sexuality, sex and gender if it is directly related to, and reasonably necessary for, responsiveness
  • have systems in place for the ongoing identification and monitoring of the changing needs of consumers
  • demonstrate leadership in promoting acceptance of sexual diversity, and implement mechanisms to redress discrimination
  • routinely offer appropriate diverse sexuality, sex and gender competence development and training for staff and volunteers. Top of page

Opportunities

  • Establish and promote links with community-specific support groups and organisations and practitioners who welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
  • Undertake the Rainbow Tick process: an accreditation process for inclusive practice with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Australia www.glhv.org.au/glbti-inclusive-practice.

Resource materials