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Columbus Gets Dedicated Space For LGBTQ Mental Health Patients

Paige Pfleger
Dr. Mark Blair is the medical director of Sun Behavioral Health, which is opening a new in-patient unit for LGBTQ patients.

Ohio opened its first in-patient mental health care unit specifically for the LGBTQ population on Monday.

Dr. Mark Blair gives a tour of the new multi-bed unit, which is located inside of Sun Behavioral Health in Worthington. The facility aims to help LGBTQ people struggling with mental illness.

“Mental health illnesses in general, including major depressive disorder, post trauamatic stress disorder, and different types of anxiety disorders, are about three times more prominent in the LGBTQIA community,” Blair says.

He says the LGBTQ population also has a higher rate of suicide than the heterosexual population.

According to the CDC, LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) youth are at greater risk for depression, substance abuse and suicide. About 30 percent of LGB youth attempted suicide at least once, compared to 6 percent of heterosexual young people. (The CDC did not include data about transgender or other queer youth.)

The staff has been specially trained on LGBTQ issues to insure patient stays are as positive as possible.

“In this field particularly, there’s so much unintended harm that can come if you’re not educated appropriately,” he says.

He hopes the unit will be a safe space where people can heal in the company of others who understand what they’re going through.