A kaleidoscope of care: Cincinnati-based organization pilots treatment program for LGBTQA+ community

In January of 2019 BrightView developed a pilot program designed to provide lasting recovery in the LGBTQA+ community.

Cincinnati is the first location to test a new group, called Kaleidoscope, which will be expanded across the state and region. Kaleidoscope provides group therapy in a safe, confidential, and productive environment and is specifically for LGBTQA+ people.

BrightView, founded in Cincinnati by Cincinnatians, is now in nearly ten locations with further expansion planned, has determined that group and individual therapy, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and work on social challenges are all critical to sustain long-term recovery. 

Beth Andriacco, a case manager with BrightView, came up with the idea for the group. Andriacco explains that she had a few patients who were struggling with their LGBTQA+ identity and the perceived stigma. She felt that a safe place needed to be available.

“We are a supportive place that is safe, and we use proper pronouns. We understand,” she says. “We know that 30 percent of the LGBTQA+ community do not disclose their status information during intake. We wanted to provide an environment in which this would change.”

“We have created a specialized group that meets once per week in which patients from any of our locations can attend. Everyone in the group is in the community, either LGBT or an ally to the community (parents, friends, etc.),” Andriacco continues. “Research demonstrates that some space that is LGBTQA+-focused increases recovery success rates.”

BrightView learned that the only other place with support for the community is a sober living house in Cleveland. Through Beth and her peer, Mary Moore, the program was launched in January of 2019. The statistics for the LGBTQA+ community call for a focus that achieves success.

“The primary substances that impact the community are alcohol and stimulants,” she says. “Often people are processing the shame confronted during the coming out process. We work jointly with other community groups and support groups. For example, we interact on behalf of individuals and locate other places that may help their journey.”

To learn more about joining BrightView’s Kaleidoscope group, please contact 1-833-510-HELP.


The statistics that confront the community call for more focused attention*:

• While substance abuse affects 10–12 percent of the general population, it is estimated to affect 28–32 percent of the LGBTQA+ community. (Cabaj, 2000)

• Negative attitudes of treatment providers and other patients affect how a person recovers. “Even if treatment providers have good intentions and attempt to provide optimal treatment for all of their clients, the possibility remains that subtle biases against LGBT clients have influenced the treatment process.” (Cochran, Pevay, and Cauce 2007)

• In a 2009 study, 57 percent of surveyed LGBTQA+ people said they believed that their sexual orientation had negatively affected their treatment experience.

• At risk factors unique to the LGBTQA+ community: bars being the main society outlet; past religious/social upbringing that demonizes their sexuality; shame and guilt during coming out process; social homophobia; internalized homophobia and heterosexism from treatment providers; past experiences of discrimination from medical providers.

• This study also found that 30 percent of LGBTQA+ community individuals do not disclose sexuality and/or gender identity to treatment staff at the start of treatment. (Senreich 2010)

• Participants in a 2007 study stated that they felt more transphobic events and discrimination from staff at treatment programs than from other clients. (Lombardi, 2007)

• A male-to-female transgender individual in one study reported that she struggled to find treatment providers that understood both gender and substance abuse treatment. This person reported that she avoided treatment entirely to avoid the issue. (Sperber et al, 2005)

* All data/research was taken from professional journals that are a result of studies conducted within the LGBTQA+ community.

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Read more articles by Jennifer Mooney.

Jennifer Mooney is a reformed corporate communications senior executive. She has also worked in the advertising industry and founded The Mooney Group, LLC, a boutique public relations practice. She is an avid adventurer and traveler, which includes climbing/hiking, open water swimming, and downhill skiing. She is a downtown resident and is married to Donald Mooney. She has two grown daughters.