Skip to main content
Rural Health Information Hub

Mental Health Program Considerations for Rural LGBTQ+ Populations

A 2022 rural mental health study found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) adults living in rural areas were more likely to experience depression and anxiety than their counterparts living in urban areas. LGBTQ+ individuals living in rural areas face unique obstacles when it comes to mental healthcare due to the intersection between their environment and identity. For example, common barriers to mental healthcare, such as lack of access to care, are exacerbated for rural LGBTQ+ individuals. Many LGBTQ+ individuals living in rural areas struggle to find mental health providers who understand their unique needs or have experience treating LGBTQ+ patients. Additionally, concerns about facing discrimination in healthcare settings may discourage LGBTQ+ individuals from accessing mental health services.

To address these challenges and improve mental health outcomes for LGBTQ+ individuals, it is important for rural programs to enhance trainings for mental providers. Offering trainings that focus on LGBTQ+ populations can equip providers with the awareness, skills, and sensitivity needed to provide inclusive care. By implementing or mandating such training initiatives, rural programs can help ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe, supported, and respected when seeking and receiving mental health services.

For additional recommendations on how to improve health and well-being for LGBTQ+ individuals, visit our Health Equity Toolkit.

Resources to Learn More

Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention for LGBTQIA2S+ Youth
Offers resources for various audiences seeking ways to promote better mental health outcomes among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and two-spirit youth.
Organization(s): Suicide Prevention Resource Center, NORC at the University of Chicago

Research Brief: LGBTQ Youth in Small Towns and Rural Areas
Highlights mental health trends among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth living in rural areas.
Organization(s): The Trevor Project
Date: 11/2021