Integrated Behavioral Health Care for Transgender and Gender Diverse People: An Affirming, Harm Reduction, and Trauma Responsive Approach

Integrated behavioral health care cannot eliminate all barriers and health inequities experienced by transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people. It can, however, serve as a bridge to overall wellness, and can fulfill functions associated with primary care, and in doing so, can represent a low-barrier, harm reduction method of meeting patients’ needs. It can provide a setting to address mental health concerns that may arise from the process of negotiating one’s identity as a TGD person, being denied certain forms of health care, or navigating spaces where one’s value is diminished. Integrated behavioral health care can also help to facilitate the initiation and management of gender-affirming hormone therapy, thereby reducing the need for referrals to specialty providers, eliminating wait times, and enhancing patient and provider satisfaction.