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Pediatric psychologist offers free help to LGBTQ+ youth

Dr. Jessica Robnett | Mountain Pediatric Psychology
Dr. Jessica Robnett
Dr. Jessica Robnett | Mountain Pediatric Psychology

Dr. Jessica Robnett, a pediatric psychologist, created a nonprofit that serves transgender kids in the Wasatch Back and beyond.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates about 2% of kids in high school nationwide today identify as transgender, which equals around 1.6 million people 13 and older.

Dr. Jessica Robnett has worked in pediatric psychology for seven years at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Her work has included treating LGBTQ+ children.

FULL INTERVIEW: Dr. Jessica Robnett helping transgender youth

“As part of my work in the hospital, I worked with adolescent medicine and I got the honor of working in some of our gender clinics," Robnett said. "So I got to work a lot with gender questioning youth as well as folks who are seeking affirming medical care.”

Robnett took her passion for transgender youth and created a nonprofit called Mountain Pediatric Psychology. She secured a $50,000 grant through Park City Community Foundation and the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs.

Her nonprofit offers mental health services for transgender people from birth to age 25 and works with entire families as well.

She said common issues for transgender kids include depression, anxiety identity questioning and family acceptance.

She said many of her clients struggle with figuring out the right time to stand up for themselves, like having a safe bathroom space and having their names respected and how to balance having an identity that isn’t all about their gender.

“And it is a very small nonprofit for me, for now. It's just me and I'm working hard on expanding," she said. "Our mission is just to serve complex medical children within the Wasatch Back in as well as rural Utah. This grant, to be eligible for it, the individual needs to be living in a rural county and in Utah. And so Summit County counts, Morgan County counts, I'm also serving some folks down in southern Utah that don't have any nearby resources.”

Even though the nonprofit is new, she stays busy with referrals through Adolescent Medicine at the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare.

“So whether they're underinsured or uninsured, they are in a really difficult financial place and wouldn't be able to afford care," Robnett said. "I specialize in working with younger children as much as possible because there aren't many of us out here that do that. And so if there's someone coming to their pediatrician and their 3-year, 4-year-old is starting to question gender, I'm the right gal to go to because I have the expertise where a lot of adult providers wouldn't be able to do that.”

Robnett said her goal is to be fully supported through grants and donations.

“That's a very large lofty goal but we don't really, we don't work with insurance. And so currently, our method is either we have self-pay folks who are then submitting to their insurance or we have grant-funded folks. So our goal is to be completely grant funded and really be able to support people and provide this service at no cost to them.”

Mountain Pediatric Psychology offices are in Kimball Junction at 6584 Creekside Lane. Dr. Robnett sees patients via tele-health as well as in person and is accepting new patients.

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