VCU Medical Center to offer unique LGBT-exclusive behavioral health clinic

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The Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center will soon be the first in the region to offer a behavioral health medication management clinic exclusive to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Operated by the VCU Department of Psychiatry, the clinic will open on Aug. 20 at the VCU Nelson Clinic, 401 N. 11th St., in Richmond, and will be offered every first and third Tuesday of the month. The department collaborated with the VCU Center for Psychological Services and Development and VCU’s Health Collective.

All new patients will need a referral by a licensed therapist or counselor. For more information or a referral, contact the Department of Psychiatry’s intake line at 804-828-2000.

Isaac Wood, M.D., professor, senior associate dean for medical education and student affairs in the VCU School of Medicine and attending physician of the clinic, said the idea of a culturally competent psychopharmacology clinic was created in response to the lack of psychiatric services and trained staff supporting the LGBT community in Central Virginia, and the clinic is aimed to raise awareness of the unique mental health needs of this community and provide culturally sensitive training opportunities for young health care professionals.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one in four Americans experiences a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year. Evidence suggests between 70 and 90 percent of individuals suffering from mental illness improve their quality of life with a combination of medication, therapy and support. In addition, having routine mental health checks are as important as routine physical exams.