News & Announcements

Learning to Support LGBT Children’s Mental Health & Well-Being: The Family Acceptance Project

Posted: May 07, 2012

While there are a range of support services for LGBT youth, few services have focused on the role or needs of families of LGBT adolescents, particularly families that are Spanish-speaking. This prompted Dr. Caitlin Ryan and Dr. Rafael Diaz to start the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) in 2002—the first research, education, family intervention and policy project to help ethnically and religiously diverse families support their LGBT children. FAP is affiliated with San Francisco State University. Their team has conducted the first in-depth research on what happens in Latino families when LGBT young people come out during adolescence. 

This research, conducted in English and Spanish with LGBT youth, young adults and families, identified more than 100 ways that families express acceptance and rejection of their LGBT children. This includes rejecting behaviors such as telling an adolescent that they shame the family or not letting the youth talk about their LGBT identity. It also includes accepting or supportive behaviors such as expressing affection, advocating for a gay or transgender youth when they are discriminated against by others or helping an LGBT youth get accurate information about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

For the first time research shows that families and caregivers have a dramatic and compelling impact on their LGBT children’s physical health, mental health and well-being. It was found that LGBT young people whose parents and caregivers reject them report high rates of depression, substance abuse, suicide attempts and risk for HIV infection. It was also discovered that LGBT young people whose parents support them show much higher rates of self-esteem and greater well-being, with better overall health and lower rates of health and mental health problems. 

Using this research, the FAP team has been working with Latino and other families with LGBT children for the past decade to develop a new family model to help families support their LGBT children. This new approach shows ethnically and religiously diverse families how to reduce their gay or transgender children’s risk for mental health problems and how to promote their well-being by engaging in supportive behaviors. By empowering Latino and other families with this new info, FAP has been able to show that parents and caregivers can learn to support their LGBT children once they learn how their reactions affect their LGBT children. This approach helps increase family support for young people with underlying mental health concerns. It also prevents homelessness and placement in foster care and juvenile justice programs that include high rates of LGBT out-of-home youth.

Read more on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website. Read more about the Family Acceptance Project. Download the Supportive Families, Healthy Children Booklet in English | Spanish | Chinese.

New Factsheet: What are the HIV Prevention Needs of Latino Gay Men in the US?

Posted: May 03, 2012

The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco has published a new fact sheet focusing on the HIV prevention needs of Latino gay men. The factsheet is titled -- What are the HIV Prevention Needs of Latino Gay Men in the US?

The ever changing mosaic of Latino demographics in the US creates unique challenges to address health disparities of the population, especially when it comes to HIV prevention needs. Latinos are the largest and fastest growing ethnoracial minority group in the US, experiencing a 43% growth between 2000 and 2010. Data also show that Latinos are one of the fastest growing populations at risk for HIV transmission:

  • Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) represent 81% of new infections among Latino men, and 19% among all MSM
  • Latinos are 16% of the US population, but make up 17% of living HIV/ AIDS cases and 20% of new HIV infections each year
  • Youth (ages 13-29) accounted for 45% of new HIV infections among Latino MSM

In light of these data there is a need to identify culturally-specific health concerns of Latino gay men so that effective interventions may be developed to address current and prevent future disparities. The US National HIV/AIDS Strategy highlights the call for HIV programs that reduce health inequities among both ethnoracial and sexual minority populations. Latino gay men have distinct cross-cultural identities that place them into both prioritized categories.

Download the fact sheet (pdf). Read more on the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies website.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Posted: May 02, 2012

May is both Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month as well as Mental Health Awareness Month. In recognition of the double significance of May, the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) will be hosting and participating in a series of events to help raise awareness around mental health in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. NAAPIMHA will host a training in San Francisco on May 14-15th on "Preparing Our Community for the Next Round of Healthcare Reform". The training is free and open to the public. It will be held at Fort Mason Center, Landmark Building A. Visit the NAAPIMHA website more information and register for the training at --

The stigma associated with mental health continues to be a major barrier to AANHPIs seeking help. Many fear that if they talk about having a problem they will be seen as weak or somehow flawed. The need to fulfill the role of the “model minority” only adds pressure to be perfect, not only from family, but now expectations come from those at work, classmates and society in general. Culture also plays a strong part in not wanting to share personal information or divulge anything that might “bring shame” to the family. Another barrier to getting proper care is a workforce that does not have enough providers who are trained to address important cultural and language issues so even if someone wants to seek help, he/she may not be able to find an appropriate provider. Read more on the NAAPIMHA website.

Read the Presidential Proclamation for Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Access AANHPI resources on the Office of Minority Health website. Visit the Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month website -- a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Using Data to Eliminate Disparities: New Online Data from the National Survey of Children’s Health

Posted: April 30, 2012

April is National Minority Health Month. In honor of this year's theme--"Health Equity Can't Wait. Act Now in Your Community"--the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health (DRC) announced new data available from the 2009-2010 National Survey of Children's Health and National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs. In order to better understand and advocate for minority children with special health care needs (CSHCN), the DRC website lets you compare important key indicators and outcomes for CSHCN by race/ethnicity, highest educational level in the household, and two new measures of complexity. The data allows users to view over 100 indicators of child health and well-being, including emotional and mental health. Here are a few examples of findings you can access on the DRC website:

  • Among the 46% of CSHCN who experience 4 or more functional difficulties, only half have access to community based services
  • The 14% of CSHCN who meet 4 or more qualifying CSHCN Screener criteria are half as likely to experience quality care within a medical home as those whose conditions are less complex
  • Hispanic CSHCN are most likely to lack insurance coverage

Using Data to Reduce and Eliminate Health Disparities

Disparities continue to exist in the health status of minority CSHCN in the United States. Data showing the differences in health status and access to care among minority children in the United States are an important tool in eliminating disparities and improving the health and well-being of all children. Recently released data from the 2009-10 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs reveal that: 

  • Only one-quarter of Hispanic and African American youth with special needs received sufficient transition planning whereas nearly 45% of white youth received such planning
  • 71% of white CSHCN received family centered care, while only 56% of Hispanic CSHCN and 52% of African American CSHCN received that level of care.
  • Access to care issues are extremely important given that Hispanic CSHCN are more likely to be affected by their conditions in their daily lives and their families are more likely to experience financial problems

Visit the DRC website. Learn more about the National Survey of Children’s Health. Learn more about the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs.

SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity has a New Website

Posted: April 29, 2012

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE) has a new website. The website features a resources sections, news archives, the NNED, and populations of focus -- American Indian/Alaska Native; Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander; Black or African American; Hispanic/Latino; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender.

SAMHSA’s OBHE coordinates agency efforts to reduce behavioral health disparities for diverse populations. OBHE seeks to impact SAMHSA policy and initiatives by:

  • Creating a more strategic focus on racial; ethnic; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations in SAMHSA investments
  • Using a data-informed quality improvement approach to address racial and ethnic disparities in SAMHSA programs
  • Building on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) attention to health disparities to influence how SAMHSA does it work, including grant-making operations and policy development

Visit the new SAMHSA OBHE website.

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