Colorado LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health State of the State Survey Report 2021


“Numerous studies have documented the prevalence and consequences of behavioral health inequity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning individuals and their sexual and gender diverse peers (LGBTQ+), both nationwide and in Colorado. Broader social and political factors are critical to understanding and addressing risks and outcomes of behavioral health issues for the community.

State-level efforts to understand and address LGBTQ+ health and behavioral health inequities in Colorado have effectively documented health outcomes and disparities across diverse populations but have been limited in ability to move beyond high-level insights into the behavioral health needs and outcomes of LGBTQ+ Coloradans, given the many diverse communities comprising this population. Advancing behavioral health equity for LGBTQ+ Coloradans requires understanding of the specific and diverse behavioral health experiences and needs of individuals and groups within the LGBTQ+ community and moving beyond broad comparisons of the overall LGBTQ+ community to their straight and cisgender peers. This is particularly critical for LGBTQ+ individuals identifying as transgender and/or non-binary, for whom samples sizes are often low, leading to their information being suppressed and sometimes excluded from analysis.

Much remains unknown about LGBTQ+ Coloradans’ specific behavioral health needs and experiences, including history and diagnoses, levels of peer and family support, access to care, and experiences seeking and receiving treatment. A deeper understanding of the diverse lived experiences relevant to the behavioral health of LGBTQ+ Coloradans is critical to informing the delivery of services and needed supports, as well as policy changes focused on addressing larger inequities.

To begin addressing these gaps, Envision:You, in partnership with the OMNI Institute and an expert advisory group, sought to conduct a statewide assessment to document and understand Colorado LGBTQ+ individuals’ behavioral health needs and experiences, with particular attention paid to intersectionality of sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, and geography.”