It’s World Mental Health Day and here are resources for LGBT+ people and their loved ones

·4-min read

Today marks World Mental Health Day, and the conversation around mental health has never been louder – especially for the LGBT+ community.

Inequality and mental health have been two of the biggest conversations over the past couple months. So it’s fitting that 2021’s World Mental Health Day theme is “mental health in an unequal world”.

Countless studies have found people from the LGBT+ community are more at risk of mental ill-health and suicide compared to the rest of the population.

Earlier this year, a landmark NHS report found lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in the UK face concerning health inequalities in the UK. The report, published in July by NHS Digital, analysed the data from 1,132 LGBT adults who participated in a Health Survey for England between 2011-2018.

The research found LGB adults are more likely to drink more, smoke more and have worse mental health than the straight population, resulting in worse health outcomes.

Research by charity Just Like Us found LGBT+ people were twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety and panic attacks than young people who are not part of the LGBT+ community.

The research asked 2,934 secondary school pupils how they’re faring during the pandemic. According to the research, 55 per cent of LGBT+ 11 to 18-year-olds worried about their mental health daily, compared to 26 per cent of their straight peers.

Seven in 10 (68 per cent) of queer youth said their mental health worsened during the pandemic, and a similar proportion (70 per cent) of trans young people said their mental health declined.

There’s no “one size fits all” solution to navigate the ups and downs, twists and turns the LGBT+ community are experiencing. But there are several resources and tips available for queer people and their loved ones can use to find a supportive hand.

Mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin previously offered tips to LGBT+ people who are struggling with their mental health. He cautioned people against doom scrolling on social media or news websites if they are making you feel “unsettled”.

He told PinkNews that he’d had to “switch off Twitter more regularly” because there was “so much speculation on things”.

“It’s just unhelpful for me, I only really want to know the facts and when something might change,” Benjamin said.

He also recommended that people take a few minutes each day to practice self-compassion by making a gratitude list. He shared that he writes “six things, three things” that he’s grateful for about the day and then things he liked about himself that day.

“It builds up more of a positive, compassionate mindset doing it every day,” Benjamin said.

If you are struggling with mental health issues and need support, there are several resources that you can contact.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

Beat promotes awareness and understanding of eating disorders, also challenging inaccurate stereotypes and stigma. Find out more at Beat’s website, by calling one of their UK helplines or utilising their one-to-one webchat.

If you need LGBT-specific support, you can contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30 or email helpline@lgbt.foundation.

If you are looking for specific support, these organisations offer mental health advice and services, including helplines for LGBT+ people.

1. The Albert Kennedy Trust supports young LGBT+ people between the ages of 16 and 25 years old. They can help with finding specialist LGBT+ mental health services.

2. Gendered Intelligence works with the trans community, especially young people, and those who affect trans lives.

3. Imaan is a support group for LGBT+ Muslims, providing a safe space to share experiences, with factsheets and links to relevant services.

4. LGBT Consortium develops and supports LGBT groups and projects around the country. Use the site’s directory to find local mental health services.

5. London Friend aims to improve the health and mental wellbeing of LGBT people in and around London.

6. Pink Therapy has an online directory of therapists who work with LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning), and gender and sexual-diversity (GSD) clients.

7. Mermaids supports trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming young people and their families. The UK charity offers web chat support, email support and a confidential helpline on 0808 801 0400 which is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm.

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