Integrity House is pleased to have received a $150,000 contract to increase outreach and behavioral health services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual/agender (LGBTQIA+) members in the greater Newark area. Through the one-year contract made possible by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Integrity House will look to serve 50 individuals with a focus on LGBTQIA+ members who identify as Black.
“Studies indicate that when compared with the general population, individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, and have higher rates of problematic substance use,” said Robert J. Budsock, President and CEO of Integrity House. “Additionally, many substance use treatment programs are often not equipped to meet the needs of this population. That, coupled with the social stigma and discrimination that LGBTQIA+ individuals often face, can make it difficult or uncomfortable for individuals to seek services. This funding will help us change that.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction treatment programs that offer specialized groups for the LGBTQ community show better outcomes for those individuals compared to non-specialized programs.
Through the contract, Integrity House will provide trauma-informed care using evidence-based practices that include motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, illness management and recovery, mindfulness-based stress reduction, 12-step facilitation therapy, and contingency management. These practices will be modified to better serve the target population.
Integrity House will also establish an LGBTQIA+ subcommittee that will inform the ongoing design and delivery of services, implement agency-wide training for staff, and update its intake/admissions documents, policies, and marketing collateral to ensure the use of inclusive language. The agency will also adapt its cultural competency plan to include benchmarks that address disparities in access and treatment outcomes for LGBTQIA+ members.
These activities will supplement Integrity House’s ongoing efforts to serve the LGBTQIA+ community. The agency retains a transgender and gender non-conforming policy that ensures individuals are housed in inpatient and residential treatment programs according to their gender identity. Integrity House also employs a Board Certified Transgender Care Therapist that can provide therapy that is specific to gender fluid and/or gender non-confirming clients. Clients who identify as transgender have also been able to successfully pursue hormone replacement therapy while in treatment.
“By better educating our staff and community, we can remove barriers to treatment for LGBTQIA+ members and provide them with a path to healing and recovery,” added Budsock. “Our goal is to create an inclusive environment that addresses the many challenges the LGBTQIA+ community faces and connect individuals to specialized care and treatment.”