Guide to LGBTQ-friendly mental health services in Philadelphia

Shanna Williams became a therapist for a simple reason: As a black, eccentric person, she wanted a therapist who understood her experience. At the time, she couldn’t find one, so she decided to fill in the void herself.

Williams said it’s important for people to connect with someone who looks like them. She now leads the clinical program at The Attic Youth Center, where she continues to build and develop a range of free mental health services available to LGBT youth.

The attic stands out as an essential resource for the LGBTQ community in Philadelphia – young and old alike – whose proven and accessible mental health care isn’t always easy to find. Although LGBT people are becoming increasingly visible and accepted, health care providers are not always trained to meet their specific needs. Finding homeopathic pros providers isn’t the only hurdle. These services are often very expensive, which may make them inaccessible for some.

So, how do you find qualified, affordable, gay-friendly mental health resources in Philadelphia? Here are some places to start, and guidelines for finding what works for you.

» Read more: How to support trans people in Philly, according to transgender people

If you are identified as LGBTQ, there are many misconceptions that can affect your care. That might include why you need help, says Jodi Morrissey, a licensed clinical social worker who is also the director of behavioral health at Mazoni Center, a LGBT-focused health care provider in Center City.

“[Many people] I suppose the issues that people come to deal with are gender identity and sexual orientation,” Morrissey said. While this may certainly be true at times, Morrissey said a lot of gay people also deal with the day-to-day challenges that would bring anyone into therapy.

In a way, this is an argument that any processor will be fine. But Morrissey said it’s important to be seen as an individual, and to fully understand and respect your identities and relationships.

This is central to Mazzoni’s work, which offers individual therapy, substance abuse treatment, and support groups. “The treatment itself is not different, what is different is our approach,” Morrissey said.

It is powerful to feel that your service provider sees and accepts it, Especially if you want to feel comfortable enough to share the vulnerable parts of your life, said Morrissey.

“I think it’s important that people continue to understand their mental health and find ways to deal with it,” Williams said, a need exacerbated by the pandemic.

Group support and peer counseling can also be a lifelinesaid Chris Bartlett, CEO of the William Way LGBT Community Center.

“For people who may not particularly have financial access to a therapist, or for whom the idea of ​​going to a therapist is troubling, peer counseling is sometimes a good first step,” he said.

“There is a real need for people to find therapeutic support, peer support, or group support,” he said. “Mental health services are probably the most important thing we can offer right now.”

Finding mental health care is personal and individual. No matter what type of service you need, it’s important to make sure you have the right provider before you dive in.

Here’s Morrissey’s advice on finding the right therapist:

  • You have a clear idea of ​​what you need to feel comfortable. This could be a specific approach to counseling (more coaching versus more coaching) or a specific setting (individual versus group therapy).

  • ask questions. “Learn how a therapist practices, what methods they use, and how many LGBT people have been treated in the past. Sometimes there’s a general reluctance with clients to ask about it, but it’s something we strongly encourage,” Morrissey said.

  • Keep an open mind. Don’t write off someone if they don’t fit the exact picture of your ideal therapist right away. “A lot of growth happens when a person doesn’t necessarily look like you, act like you, or think like you,” Morrissey said.

  • When money is a concernBe direct about costs, and ask about any incremental discounts or rates.

If you get stuck and can’t find the right provider (and you have insurance), try calling your insurance company. There may be a list of therapists who can help with communication. Or, if you find a provider outside of your network, contact your insurance and ask them what perks they can offer.

“The member who holds the insurance has a lot of oomph,” Morrissey said.

» Read more: Nearly 75% of LGBT people say COVID-19 has harmed their mental health, according to the survey

Many gay positive mental health resources in Philadelphia are located in Center City, which can make them uncomfortable or inaccessible depending on where you live and how easy it is for you to travel.

But most services are now available via telehealth due to the pandemic. This eliminates the need to travel to therapy or support groups, as some are available virtually or over the phone.

“We’ve also made it more accessible to people who may have mobility issues,” Williams said. She predicts that even after the pandemic, The Attic will offer some virtual services, especially with its own support groups.

Here are some of the queer confirmation service providers in the Philadelphia area to get you started:

  • What do they offerOutpatient mental health services, individual therapy, and substance abuse recovery counseling for youth and adults who identify as LGBT.

  • how much does it costMazzoni accepts both private and public health insurance plans. If you’re uninsured, there’s a tiered scale of services for just $30.

  • 📍1348 Bainbridge Street, 215-563-0652, mazzonicenter.org

  • What do they offer: Mental health counseling for LGBTQ youth and young adults up to age 23, as well as their families/carers. Support groups tailored to meet different needs within the queer community, such as healthy relationships, self-esteem, and gender identity.

  • how much does it cost: All services at The Attic are free and supported by grants and donations from the organization.

  • 📍255 S 16th Street, 📞 215-545-4331, atticyouthcenter.org

  • What do they offer: Confidential, peer-to-peer personal counseling. Social support groups for transgender people.

  • how much does it cost: Counseling services and support groups are free.

  • Virtual Services: Due to the pandemic, peer counseling services are only available by phone, and support groups are being held on Zoom.

  • 📍1315 Spruce Street, 📞 215-732-2220, waygay.org

  • What do they offer: Motivational support groups, mental health services, and youth services focused on LGBT people of color.

  • how much does it cost: All services are free and credible.

  • Virtual Services: Yes really. Due to the pandemic, services are being provided physically or in person by appointment only.

  • 📍1211 Chestnut Street, 📞 215-832-0100, coloursorganization.org

  • What do they offer: Outpatient treatment and psychological care designed for the LGBTQ community.

  • how much does it cost: Einstein accepts commercial and general insurance, but also offers assistance and a tiered fee for uninsured patients.

  • Virtual Services: Yes really. Because of the pandemic, mental health services are almost always provided through telehealth.

  • 📍5501 Old York Rd. (Einstein Medical Center), 📞 215-420-0989, 🌐 einstein.edu/pride-program

  • What do they offer: A variety of LGBTQ-focused group meetings for people in recovery from substance abuse.

  • how much does it cost: Meetings are free to attend.

  • Virtual Services: Some meetings are held in person in Philadelphia, while others can be accessed by phone or Zoom.

  • 📍 Various sites, by group 🌐 aasepia.org/?type=lgbtq

Williams also recommended a set of special practices that affirm and open up to LGBTQ clients:

If you’re dealing with an immediate crisis, reach the 24/7 Philadelphia Behavioral Health Hotline at 215-686-4420, or the TrevorLifeline for LGBTQ Youth at 1-866-488-7386.

»Read more: More Philly’s tips: Read our most helpful stories

.

Leave a Comment