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Recognising IDAHOBIT and raising awareness

JANUARY 21, 2020

Unite the Union is proud to recognise International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia , known as IDAHOBIT for short, this date was chosen as it commemorates the date of the decision to remove homosexuality from classification as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation in 1990. The main purpose of IDAHOBIT is to raise awareness of ongoing discrimination, violence and persecution of LGBT+ people across the world.

As IDAHOBIT falls during mental health awareness week this blog reflects on the additional challenges faced by members of the LGBT+ community.

Recent research by Stonewall, the national LGBT+ charity found that one in five and of LGBT+ people have experienced a hate crime because of their sexual orientation in the past year and over half of trans people have been subjected to a hate crime due to their gender identity. Around a quarter of LGBT+ people avoid some streets due to safety concerns and 13% have been discriminated against in a bar, restaurant or club venue in the past year. Trans people in particular still experience appalling levels of abuse on social media and are on the receiving end of misinformation and direct attacks from TV and print media.

It is no wonder that Lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people can also be more susceptible to mental health problems because of the level of discrimination and inequalities faced. 

Evidence in the Journal of Psychiatry suggests that LGBT+Q people are at higher risk of experiencing poor mental health with a wide range of problems such as depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm and alcohol and substance misuse. Though the reasons for this are complex, this higher prevalence of mental ill health is attributed to a range of factors such as discrimination, isolation, bullying, homophobia, biphobia and/or transphobia.

Members of the LGBT+ community are also at a greater risk of experiencing hate crime compared to heterosexual people, with certain LGBT+ groups found to be at particular risk, including gay men, young people and those identifying as LGBT+ from black and ethnic minority groups.

Members of the LGBT community are also more likely to experience problems such as anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm and alcohol and drug misuse. 

Here are just some of the organisations specifically set up to support LGBT+ people experiencing mental ill health :

Stonewall - For help and advice on everything LGBT+ related from coming out to criminal law and partnership and parenting rights, head to Stonewall. And take a look at Stonewall’s What’s in My Area feature, which provides information on local services and support groups in their communities. Tel: 020 7593 1850

Switchboard - is the oldest LGBT+ mental health telephone helpline in the UK. Switchboard  provides an information, support and referral service for LGBT+ people – and anyone considering issues around their sexuality and/or gender identity. Tel: 0300 330 0630

Mind LGBTQ - Mental health charity Mind has a specific section for LGBTQ people, where you can access information about mental health support. See Mind’s pages on seeking help for a mental health problem for more information on how to get support, and hear more stories from LGBTQ people talking about their mental health here.

MindLine Trans+ is a confidential mental health support helpline for LGBT+ people who identify as trans, agender, gender fluid, non-binary. MindLine Trans+ is also there to support family and friends, and to point people in the direction of other services and resources. Tel: 0300 123 3393

Elefriends - mind also runs an online peer support community called Elefriends that welcomes LGBTQ people and offers a friendly, non-judgemental space to talk about how you feel.

Pink Therapy - is an online directory of therapists who work with LGBTQ clients. Pink Therapy aims to promote high quality therapy and training services for the LGBTQ community.

LGBT Foundation - is a national charity delivering advice, support and information to LGBTQ communities. LGBT Foundation provides services and activities include a range of support groups, counselling, helpline, email and pop-in service, befriending scheme, sexual health programme, substance-misuse project, organisational training, and a range of guides and resources. Tel: 0345 3303030

Regard - A national organisation of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and queer people (LGBTQ) who self-identify as disabled, Regard provides information, advice and support to LGBTQ people with disabilities.

Albert Kennedy Trust – supporting young LGBT+ people between 16 and 25 years old.

Gendered Intelligence - working with the trans community and those who impact on trans lives with a particular focus on supporting young trans people under the age of 21.

ConsortiumLGBT+ – Consortium of voluntary and community organisations providing services that will help you to find mental health support in your local area.

If you need urgent advice or support then please contact the Samaritans who will help. They are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Telephone 116 123. Whatever you're going through, you can call them any time, from any phone for FREE.

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