Stony Brook Medicine releases results of health needs survey for Long Island LGBTQ+ community

Stony Brook Medicine released the results of its first health needs survey for the Long Island LGBTQ+ community in recognition of National Coming Out Day on Tuesday.  
Medical professionals say they find the 2021 survey results alarming but not entirely surprising.  
"Our respondents really have been struggling, especially with mental health areas," says one medical professional.  
Over 1,000 members of Long Island's LGBTQ+ community took part in Stony Brook Medicine's survey on the top needs and disparities in accessing health care. 
More than 60% of respondents reported symptoms of chronic depression, almost half reported poor mental health and or anxiety, and more than a third had thoughts of self-harm. The alarming part to doctors is only a third of these respondents are receiving mental health treatment.
"Not only does the stress and anxiety come from the lived experiences that people have day to day, but also the fear of having the lived experience,” says one medical professional. “That is a huge factor in this as well and could contribute to people not seeking health care at all because they don't want to have the experience that they know others have had."  
Research from the National Trevor Project show LGBTQ+ people are not prone to mental or behavioral health concerns because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but they could be at a higher risk because of how they're mistreated or stigmatized in society. 
Stony Brook Medicine's survey results show access to health care continues to be a growing issue with factors involving insurance like covering trans-related services, transportation barriers, and the fear of non-affirming treatment from a health care provider.
"I was a little disheartened to learn the number and percentages of individuals who had a negative experience in health care,” says a medical professional. “Not surprised, but I was just optimistic." 
The results from the survey will bring more knowledge for Stony Brook Medicine and their community partners to come up with plans to bring responsive clinical and social services to Nassau and Suffolk counties.