ST CLOUD -- With a higher rate of suicides, assaults, depression and anxiety, the Transgender community faces some significant problems.

A new clinic at CentraCare's Health Plaza is hoping to help this minority community.

Joni Steffens is the director of the new Gender Medicine Program at CentraCare. She says, some common issues become much more severe for the Transgender community.

"This patient population because of the difficulties they face day to day are at higher risks for things like suicide, there's a 41% attempt rate in this population, 50% have been physically and sexually assaulted, there's higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse because of the discrimination they face almost everyday."

Steffens calls the transitioning process is as mental as it is physical.

"So the process of transition is really that journey to align your physical body with who you know yourself to be inside, however that is."

She says the clinic is in its first three weeks of existence, and they plan to see around 300 patients in their first year of operation.

The clinic currently has 6 practitioners, and they estimate the possible Transgender community in our area to be around 2,000.

Steffens says the clinic has a simple message to those who are struggling with finding the care they need.

"You belong here, no judgement. We are committed to being that safe, friendly inclusive and affirming place of extraordinary healthcare, where you can be your authentic self and flourish on your journey of wellness."

Some of the services the new program offers are:

  • Routine medical care
  • Gender-affirming gynecologic care
  • Hormone therapy
  • Support in navigating insurance barriers

For information on other specific services CentraCare offers, as well as a phone line to call for their Specialty Care Center, visit their website.

Photo: Richard Leguil, WJON