One-of-a-kind metro program to provide mental health treatment to LGBTQ youth

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A metro behavioral health treatment center for children and teens has launched a new program that aims to provide affirming mental health treatment to LGBTQ youth.

Cedar Ridge Behavioral Hospital says The Nest program is an inpatient residential program where teens who identify as LGBTQ can receive “affirming, culturally competent mental health treatment.”

The Nest, which stands for Nurturing and Empowering Sexual and Gender minority youth, is a one-of-a-kind program whose launch comes amid Pride Month and a landmark Supreme Court ruling barring discrimination against LGBTQ workers.

“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 says there is a crucial need for a program like The Nest.

“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,” said Williams. “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.”

The goal of The Nest Program is to increase resiliency in patients, enhance their coping skills and facilitate healthy familial relationships. The mission of the program 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.

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