Supporting mental health in the LGBT+ community @DPT_NHS

Our Equality and Diversity Lead, Sabrina McAndrew, (mid photo) and Jo Portues (far left) from the East and Mid Devon Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team attended Intercom Trust’s Open Day recently.

Intercom Trust is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community resource in the south west. They provide help against homophobic and transphobic prejudice, crime and discrimination (including bullying, harassment, abuse, attacks, and threatening behaviour), helping to develop the LGBT communities, providing professional training and consultancy, and working in partnership with local government, the police, health and other organisations.

Intercom Trust has offered to visit any of our teams who request it to explain what they do and how they provide support.

This year we will be supporting the delivery of Devon’s LGBT Toolkit throughout our services. The existing evidence from the LGBT Devon Health Needs Assessment and other relevant research shows that:

  • LGBT people have significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation. LGBT people who also have other minority/protected characteristics are at even greater risk.
  • Men who have sex with men remain a priority group for HIV prevention and early diagnosis. Devon is an area of low prevalence but this presents its own challenges. Sexual health for lesbian women and trans people is often an invisible and poorly addressed area of need.
  • Rates of smoking in LGBT people in Devon are significantly higher than in the general population.
  • Levels of drug and alcohol abuse are significantly higher in LGBT people.
  • Lesbian and bisexual women are as likely to, and gay and bisexual men are more likely to, experience domestic abuse compared with their heterosexual counterparts. LGBT people may face rejection and abuse from their families, and/or may be living with personal and social consequences related to estrangement from their families (including sometimes their own children).
  • Young LGBT people are more likely than other young people to suffer from depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal ideation and have higher levels of smoking, alcohol and substance abuse. This is likely to be linked to stress from isolation, bullying and harassment. Homophobic and transphobic bullying is common in schools and can be aimed at anyone who does not conform to a gender or sexual identity norm (whether they are ‘out’ or not).
  • Older LGBT people are not always confident that health and care services are able to provide for their needs in a culturally sensitive way.
  • Social isolation is a major health factor amongst LGBT people of all ages which can be compounded by Devon’s rurality. Older LGBT people are less likely to have children and more likely to live alone.

For further information and/or questions contact Sabrina McAndrew on 01392 208932 or email smcandrew@nhs.net 

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