Metro treatment facility launches program for LGBTQ teens

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City behavioral hospital has launched a treatment program for teens who identify as LGBTQ.

Cedar Ridge Behavioral Hospital now offers a program called The Nest, an inpatient residential program that offers LGBTQ teens “affirming, culturally competent mental health treatment,” according to a Cedar Ridge news release.

The program aims to increase patient resiliency, enhance their coping skills and facilitate healthy
familial relationships. The program’s mission is to “empower patients to take control of their own mental and emotional well-being in a setting free from minority stressors that can hinder progress in other traditional residential programs,” according to the news release.

The Nest stands for nurturing and empowering sexual and gender minority youth.

“LGBTQ youth are 4 to 5 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers so it’s critical that Oklahomans be made aware of this program, especially during Pride Month which is a time to celebrate the progress we’ve made but also to highlight the needs that still exist within the community,” said Kris Williams, coordinator of The Nest Program at Cedar Ridge. “Unfortunately, even though we’ve come a long way from where we started, there still exist significant gaps in access to affirming, non-discriminatory healthcare for LGBTQ persons.”

Williams said the disparity in quality care for LGBTQ people goes back to the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic started.

“There’s a lot of historical trauma there and it can be scary for members of the LGBTQ community to come out and say here’s who I am, let alone ask for help,” Williams said. “That’s why we built this program; because there is a crucial need for sexual and gender minority youth to get help that is specialized to meet their unique needs.”

Cedar Ridge specializes in behavioral health treatment for children and teens. Treatment programs are individualized and administered by a multi-disciplinary team of psychiatrists, therapists and specialized nurses.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently barred discrimination against LGBTQ workers.

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