New group therapy for LGBTQ+ teens in Pittsburgh begins at UPMC

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Remaining a teen is hard. Currently being a teenager in the LGBTQ+ community can come to feel isolating or even terrifying. That’s what drove Layne Filio, a behavioral wellness therapist at UPMC, to make a 10-week group remedy software for kids ages 13-18 at UPMC Western Behavioral Health.

Teenagers can meet up with in individual or practically to go over subject areas like coming out, gender identity, overall body positivity and distress tolerance with their peers and counselors. The group has been a goal for Filio, who pitched the method to UPMC all through her occupation job interview in February 2021.

“There are not a good deal of team treatment solutions for LGBT youth in Pittsburgh,” states Filio. “I feel there must be much more. As a member of the group — if I have been a teen and this group have been obtainable, I would have really needed to do that.”


The disparity in psychological health struggles between LGBTQ+ teens and the general populace is staggering. According to a 2022 study by LGBTQ+ disaster intervention group The Trevor Task, 73% of LGBTQ youth report dealing with signs and symptoms of stress, and 58% expertise melancholy. Only about 17% of youth in basic working experience a mental health disorder, according to the Countrywide Alliance on Psychological Sickness

Olivia Leonard, a different behavioral health and fitness therapist and counselor for the application, claims society could be to blame for the discrepancy. 

“There is so a lot inherent bias that individuals have and treat others with,” says Leonard. “When you are a part of a minority populace that is typically mistreated, it truly brings about mental well being premiums to increase as a result of the roof.” 

Even if anyone has affirming parents, they are often achieved with bullying as before long as they go to school, says Filio. For now, the software will aim on little ones whose mom and dad do at least know about and assistance their child’s LGBTQ+ identification, as the treatment would require to be billed by way of a guardian or guardian’s insurance plan. Finally, even though, UPMC would like to determine out a way to provide the program to any teen about age 14, which is the lawful age of consent for psychological wellness remedy in Pennsylvania. 

Filio and Leonard achieved with folks at the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation to attain a lot more experienced insight on what youngsters in this demographic may possibly need to have, claims Filio. Every single week will function a main aim for dialogue such as how to make a coming out basic safety strategy. The counselors will share cognitive behavioral treatment techniques these kinds of as imagined logs and cognitive restructuring to train young ones how to ideal regulate detrimental wondering and strain. 

Talking about traumatic activities is aspect of therapy, states Filio, but there is also a area for positivity. 


“We’re concentrating on strength and how this can develop genuinely powerful, magnificent men and women,” claims Filio. “It’s vital to concentrate on the good things that can occur out of complicated experiences.” 

Nevertheless the initial 10-7 days session is no more time accepting new clientele, anybody interested in becoming a member of the future team ought to contact Mary Lou Wetzel at UPMC Western Behavioral Health and fitness at 412-246-5218 or [email protected]. UPMC has not however announced when the next team will get started.


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