Affirming psychological care helps reduce rates of depression, anxiety, self-harming behaviors, and suicidal ideation. When looking for a mental health practitioner, it helps to understand their different areas of expertise and training. Check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website for more information about the different types of specialists in mental health care. It’s also important to find a mental health practitioner that follows professional standards that guide affirming care. The American Psychological Association (APA) has affirming standards of care for LGBTQ+ people. And the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) provides standards of care for transgender and gender-nonconforming people. When interviewing mental health providers, ask them if they follow APA or WPATH standards of care. If you have questions about privacy and HIPPA laws as they apply to a minor child, check out the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Find a Licensed Mental Health Provider:

  • Ask your primary care physician for recommendations.
  • Search online for a gender clinic. Gender clinics specialize in the care of gender non-conforming and transgender youth and their families. They are typically located in big cities.
  • If you have health insurance, ask them for a list of covered providers in your area.
  • Planned Parenthood provides medical care for LGBTQ+ individuals and might have recommendations. Find your closest Planned Parenthood.
  • If you don’t have health insurance or your policy does not offer enough coverage, google your city or county department of health and call their offices to ask about a referral.
  • If you have private or government health insurance, your plan may be required under federal law to offer mental health coverage equal to your physical health coverage. The American Psychological Association has a helpful guide with information about federal laws that regulate equal coverage for mental health.
  • You may be able to connect with a mental health provider via telehealth- by phone or video conferencing. This service typically costs the same amount as an in-person visit, but is convenient if there aren’t any mental health providers nearby.
  • There are also smartphone apps that may help if you are feeling stress, anxiety, or depression. The One Mind PsyberGuide is a non-profit project that evaluates digital mental health apps. They evaluate the apps based on the research supporting the technology, user experience, and privacy policies. In some cases, you can find reviews written by professionals who downloaded the app.

Mental Health Resource Hotlines:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

SAMHSA, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has a 24-hour helpline for people dealing with mental health issues. SAMHSA specialists can provide you with resources and the names of mental health professionals in your area. 

  • Hotline: (800) 662-HELP (4357)
National Alliance on Mental Illness

NAMI is a national mental health organization that offers a free hotline with trained specialists who can provide information, resources, and referrals for mental health assistance.

  • Hotline: (800) 950-NAMI (6264)

Professional Standards of Care:

American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for Sexual Minority Persons

American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People.