Mental health is something that is likely to affect us all in some way during our lives, whether it be ourselves or someone close to us. Research by ‘Rethink Mental Illness’ shows that members of the LGBT+ community are 1 ½ times more likely to be affected by anxiety and depression, and there are a number of contributory factors such as discrimination, struggles with identity, and isolation amongst others.
In recent years, there has been a greater general acceptance and understanding of LGBT+ issues, but there is still a disparity worldwide in terms of LGBT+ rights. Conversion therapy, for example, which sees sexual orientation as an illness that can be cured, is still legal in many parts of the world, including in the UK. There is still a very real and widespread feeling that those from the LGBT+ community are worth less than others, that they don’t deserve the same rights as others, and that they are mentally or physically unwell. Issues like that of conversion therapy only strengthen this feeling and reinforce it to people from the LGBT+ community, as well as dangerously impacting on the perception others hold of them. This can also present a barrier to access to healthcare for members of the LGBT+ community, who fear discrimination and a lack of understanding.
A Stonewall survey in 2018 reported that;
52% of LGBT people said they had experienced depression.
Almost half of Transgender people (46%) have thought about taking their own life.
One in six LGBT people said they drank alcohol almost every day.
One in eight LGBT people said they had experienced some form of discrimination from healthcare staff.
The figures above are more than just statistics – they are the lives of those around us, our friends and our family. This LGBT+ history month, in the spirit of Body, Mind, Spirit, we can focus on looking after ourselves – taking care of our body and mind in turn has a positive impact on our spirit, what makes us who we are.
There are a number of organisations that can provide support to members of the LGBT+ community – The Rainbow Project, Cara-Friend and TransgenderNI for example. However, one of the easiest ways to look after those around you is to ask those three simple words – ‘how are you?’
Wishing all our colleagues a happy LGBT+ History Month 2021 – take care of yourselves and each other.
If you need help or support with any of the topics mentioned please see the support services listed below for help and information:
Aware – 07548 530931
Lifeline – 0808 808 8000
Samaritans – 0330 0945717
The Rainbow Project – 02890 319030
LGBT+ Switchboard – 0808 8000390
Police Care UK – 03000120030
Call 4 back up – 03001210999
Our frontline – Text BLUELIGHT to 85258