• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

How The UK Is Failing LGBT Mental Health


Feb 28, 2024
Mental Health

February, for the UK, is LGBT+ History Month. Founded in 2004 and first celebrated in 2005 by the co-founders of Schools OUT UK, Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, this month of awareness takes place to coincide with the abolition of Section 28, a legislative designation that prohibited the promotion of homosexuality.

Each year, the month chooses a different focus, seeking to celebrate or bring greater understanding to an area of LGBT+ culture and history. This year, the focus is medicine. Alongside a showcase of the extensive and remarkable work performed by LGBT+ medical staff across history, the initiative is also taking a close look at how the community both has and continues to receive medical care.

Historically, the LGBT+ community have faced a great many issues when seeking support for mental health issues, issues that persist today. Inequalities in healthcare are pervasive and hinder individuals from accessing support and beginning recovery. This is particularly troubling when considering the fact that over 50% of LGBT+ individuals experience mental ill-health compared with 32% of the general population.

The statistics behind LGBT+ mental health demonstrate the importance of appropriate and accessible healthcare[1]:

At this point, we should affirm that being LGBTQIA+ does not cause such issues. Instead, the issues stem from homo-, bi-, and transphobia, as well as social isolation and stigma.

These issues are not excluded from mainstream healthcare services either and the LGBT+ community consistently face unequal access to mental health services in the UK. There is a clear call within the community not only for equal standards of healthcare but also for physical healthcare, neurodiversity support, and social care from organisations that are less likely to be discriminatory.

Thankfully, there are a number of groups and initiatives working toward offering mental healthcare options to the LGBTQIA+ community, such as Bristol Counselling and Psychotherapy, striving to ensure mental health support is equally and fairly accessible to all.

Such services are not only able to offer considered support for a wide range of demographics but also ensure that a diverse team of counsellors are available for support. This simple consideration of having a range of counsellors representing various social demographics means significant steps toward positive change. Those seeking mental health services can, as such, meet and connect with those who better understand the context of their story.

As these initiatives grow across the UK, there is hope that mental health will improve across all demographics. However, until then, we must continue to highlight the shortcomings of mainstream mental health services, highlighting the problems of a one-size fits all structure that continues to fail a great many individuals across the UK.

[1] Initialisms reflect those used in their original study

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