Dear Assistant Secretaries Levine and Delphin-Rittmon,The letter is signed by;
Nationally, adolescent mental health providers have expressed concern for the increasing need for adolescent behavioral health services. We have also heard from health care providers about the need to answer an urgent call for the unmet mental health needs for transgender and gender expansive (TGE) adolescents, including exploring, non-binary, agender, genderfluid and queer youth. As co-chairs, we encourage the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council (BHCC), along with experts in the field of adolescent transgender care, to offer guidance on best practices for adolescent inpatient mental health care for these youth. Our goal is to help mental health providers offer the best care they can to the nation’s TGE youth without a delay in treatment. The focus of this request is for the pressing needs of hospital or residential care even as we recognize the need for guidance across all settings of mental health care.
The Trevor Project released the National Survey of LGBTQ Youth Mental Health and noted alarming data that more than half of transgender and non-binary youth seriously contemplated killing themselves in 2020. The survey participants were diverse: 45 percent youth of color and 38 percent identifying as transgender or non-binary.
There was variation in the rates of suicide attempts across youth depending on participants’ race and culture, with 12 percent for white youth compared to 31 percent for Native/Indigenous youth, 21 percent for Black youth, 21 percent for multiracial youth, 18 percent for Latinx youth, and 12 percent for Asian Pacific Islander youth.
As the BHCC works to bring together leadership across the Department to provide more equitable behavioral health care, we ask that you consider ways to improve and communicate best practices for inpatient and residential mental health care for boarding adolescent TGE youth. Importantly, we ask you include the voices of these youth at the table.
Christopher S. Murphy,If any of these senators is your senator please write or email or call them to thank them for having our backs.
Jeffrey A. Merkley,
Ben Ray Luján,