Celebrating diversity and identity is at the core of the work we do at LIFEPlan. Person-centered is not only a priority for our members. It is also one we strive to understand and value in our staff. In honor of Pride Month, QA Reviewer Selena DeFrancisci took time away from her busy schedule to share her thoughts on how Care Managers can support our LGBTQ+ community. She has passed along helpful resources for members and their families.
With pride month among us, it serves as a reminder of the many trials and tribulations that the LGBTQ+ community faces. This is much like our loved ones and members living with disabilities. As we know, the suicide rate is exponentially higher for those in the LGBTQ+ community. It is also higher for those living with a serious health condition or disability.
As a member of said community myself, I understand how scary, confusing and intimidating it can be to not only be out, but to seek assistance when needed. It is our responsibility here at LIFEPlan to support our members and families with a holistic and unbiased approach. Our Care Managers are the foundation of the support we provide. We must afford them the necessary and valuable resources for our members.
If you could take the time to familiarize yourself with the following information and resources, we may be one stop closer to offering safe, more progressive, and valuable help. First and foremost, if you have a member that feels comfortable enough to confide in you, take into consideration these simple steps when responding;
- thank them for having the courage to confide in you
- refrain from using judgement and bias
- respect their confidentiality
- be patient and let them disclose information at their own pace
- inquire about any assistance they may need
To better prepare you as the Care Manager, I have compiled some information to get you started. A good place to start, would be the GLAAD site as they house information on increasing acceptance, linkage to legal assistance, and HIV/AIDS, as we always want to promote health and safety.
The Trevor Project provides a 24-hour, toll free phone number for crisis and suicide intervention, which also accepts text messages, should someone not feel comfortable calling in.
And although the literature on queer, disabled individuals is scarce, the OAR (Organization for Autism Research, includes a fantastic link to information on LGBTQ+ and the Autism spectrum, such as sexual orientation and gender identity, becoming an ally, coming “out,” and social acceptance.
Additionally, the NY State Office of Mental Health has provided a handy “cheat sheet,” for use of the parent/caregiver of a child who just recently came “out.” And perhaps one of the more substantial resources, PFLAG states that they are the first and largest organization for members of the LGBTQ+ community, and their family members, also offering suicide and crisis intervention, as well as resources for victims of abuse and rape. Furthermore, they have a sturdy foundation with over 400 chapters across the country. Closest locations are in Cortland, Rochester, Kingston, and New York City.
As you see, there are numerous resources available that boast acceptance, education, and support. Let’s do our part to be one of them.