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SAMHSA Report on Evidence-Based Care for LGBTQI+ Youth

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) shares research and recommendations for providing evidence-based health care to LGBTQI+ youth.

Released March 31, Moving Beyond Change Efforts: Evidence and Action to Support and Affirm LGBTQI+ Youth, builds on the 2015 SAMHSA report Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth. Targeting behavioral health professionals, researchers, and policymakers, it includes a comprehensive research overview and information about effective and ineffective therapeutic practices related to youth of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity.

Beneficial Therapeutic Approaches and Interventions

The report describes evidence-based approaches to support and affirm LGBTQI+ youth for those primarily engaged in practice and treatment, such as:

  • Providing accurate information on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to ensure informed decision-making.
  • Supporting adaptive coping to improve psychological well-being.
  • Identifying sources of distress and working with families to reduce distress in youth.

Policy Approaches

The report also outlines policies that affect successful treatment and offers recommendations on areas of focus for policymakers as they work to solidify the behavioral health and well-being of LGBTQI+ youth, including:

  • Ending sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts, which put LGBTQI+ youth at risk of significant harm.
  • Ensuring access to evidence-based care by increasing professional training and education and preventing bans on evidence-based care.
  • Promoting behavioral health by strengthening nondiscrimination policies, including anti-bullying policies and ensuring access to benefits.
  • Advancing research that improves care through inclusive data collection.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Faridat Animashaun is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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