In 2016, researcher Amy Lodge from the Steve Hicks’ Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health administered a survey to staff at Texas local mental health authorities. The goal was to assess providers’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes on culturally affirming care to LGBTQ populations.
Lodge found that a majority of providers felt that gender identity and sexual orientation were not relevant to their work. Attitudes towards the LGBTQ community were generally positive. But providers lacked the knowledge and skills to offer culturally affirming care.
Lodge assembled a work-group composed of individuals in the LGBTQ community with lived experience as peers in behavioral health-service settings. The goal was developing a comprehensive, organization-wide training. The result was Creating Affirming Environments for LGBTQ People Receiving Services. This is a four-module training package to be used in orientations for all new employees, from front-desk and maintenance staff to clinicians and leadership.