Participants at the TogetherChat submitted a report of their discussions to Baltimore Mental Health Systems. This report identifies several barriers to communication that exist between mental health professionals and minor-attracted people, including self-interest, media sensationalizing, culturally enforced secrecy, drastic and ineffective legal policies, inaccurate stereotypes, the silencing of minor-attracted people who behave responsibly, misleading paradigms used to understand them, adversarial professional relationships, derogatory professional language, severe stigma, marginalization, and fear on both sides. The report describes how improved communication would contribute to the prevention of harm to minor-attracted adults and adolescents, the well-being of children, increased understanding by mental health professionals, and more effective and just policies.
The report proposes a variety of interventions, such as workshops to promote honest communication between the two groups and a change in the existing paradigm, the creation of an infrastructure of highly visible mental health services, a review and revision of professional language, the organizing of informal meetings held around the country where both groups could speak honestly about common concerns, and the formation of a working group that would disseminate accurate information to stakeholders. The report also identifies possible obstacles to these interventions and ways of working around them.
Finally, the report outlines plans for a workshop to be held by B4U-ACT in late fall or winter, with support from BMHS. The proposed workshop would involve interactive sessions where attendees work together toward the following goals:
- To define the communication problem that exists between mental health professionals and minor attracted people in society
- To promote understanding of the harmful consequences of this problem, and the benefits of eliminating the barriers to communication
- To develop mutual empathy among mental health professionals and minor attracted people
- To help mental health professionals see minor attracted people as diverse in their characteristics and behaviors
- To form a working group that would develop and carry out plans to promote communication between the two groups over a period of time, and on a larger scale