BRATTLEBORO, VT – When the first LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) inpatient treatment program opened nearly three years ago at the Brattleboro Retreat, administrators and doctors knew there was a need for such a program – and they were certainly right.
More than 1,000 individuals, mostly from Vermont and neighboring states, have received treatment for a wide range of mental health and/or addiction issues, including severe anxiety, major depression, bi-polar disorder, and substance abuse, according to Cory Nohl, MD, the program’s medical director.
He pointed out that a study reported in Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are two and one-half times more likely than heterosexual men and women to have had a mental health disorder during their lifetime.
“Individuals in the LGBT community, particularly those from rural communities, are at a higher risk of having serious mental health or substance abuse issues that are often the result of social stigmas, verbal and physical abuse, and rejection by family members,” Dr. Nohl said.
“While these individuals often come to us in crisis, our treatment program provides them with the tools and support they need so they can develop new coping skills and return to their homes and jobs.
“There’s a wonderful sense of community among the patients themselves and the treatment team,” Dr. Nohl said. “The strong peer support and the fact that they’re in a safe environment where they feel understood and accepted plays a major role in the healing process.”
The inpatient treatment program includes individualized psychological and medical evaluation, around-the-clock acute hospital care, individual and group therapy, medication management, alcohol detox/short-term stabilization, and after care planning.
The average length of stay is seven days.
The newly renovated, 15-bed facility is staffed by a team of psychiatrists, nurses and social workers who receive special training in sensitivity to LGBT issues.
Some of team members are from the LGBT community and all support and advocate for LGBT rights.
The Brattleboro Retreat, founded in 1834, is a not-for-profit regional specialty psychiatric hospital and addictions treatment center, providing a full range of diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitation services for individuals of all ages and their families.