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LGBTQ+ History Month: mental health and LGBTQ+ communities

20 February 2023

The month of February is LGBTQ+ History Month, a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary and queer (LGBTQ+) history, including the history of LGBTQ+ rights movements.

LGBTQ+ History Month was started by education charity Schools Out UK and first took place in February 2005. There’s lots of LGBTQ+ art, history, people and progress being celebrated this month, and there is also a spotlight on the ongoing prejudice against LGBTQ+ communities. We understand that the discrimination LGBTQ+ communities can face has the potential to significantly impact their mental health, with studies showing that half of LGBTQ+ people had experienced depression, and three in five had experienced anxiety.

Everyone should be able to access the support they need if experiencing mental ill health, but sadly the Mental Health Foundation reports that around one in eight LGBTQ+ people have experienced unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they are LGBTQ+ and one in seven have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination. To highlight the non-judgmental, welcoming and inclusive support available for LGBTQ+ residents to use if they experience mental ill health, we’ve shared some mental health resources and support services below for people who may benefit or know someone who may benefit.

Specialist mental health support for LGBTQ+ people

Advice from Mind, the mental health charity

Leading mental health charity Mind have a dedicated page of mental health tips for LGBTQ+ people and they emphasise that different things work for different people at different times, so it is always important to consider what feels most comfortable, without putting too much pressure on yourself. Click here to read their advice in full.

Mind also have an A to Z guide of useful organisations who provide advice, support and information for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQIA+). You can click here to view Mind’s list of LGBTQ+ organisations and how to contact them.

Emergency support helplines

There are lots of helplines available to support LGBTQ+ people who are experiencing mental health challenges, ensuring that no one has to suffer alone. Below is a list of free helplines, and all of them are staffed by people who are specially trained to listen non-judgmentally.

  • Switchboard an LGBT+ helpline is available on 0300 330 0630, open 10am–10pm every day. Online chat support is also available on their website: switchboard.lgbt
  • MindLine Trans+ is a confidential emotional, mental health support helpline for people who identify as transgender, agender, gender fluid and non-binary. The helpline is available nationwide and can be accessed on 0300 330 5468.
  • Mindout Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer Mental Health Service have an online live chat support service which can be accessed through their website: www.mindout.org.uk
  • Galop are an anti-abuse charity who provide helplines and other support for LGBT+ adults and young people who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse. You can call their helpline on 0800 999 5428, email help@galop.org.uk or get help from their live chat service on their website at galop.org.uk/get-help.
  • Mermaids supports gender-diverse young people aged 19 and under, and their families and carers. They offer a helpline from Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm on 0808 801 0400 and via web chat at mermaidsuk.org.uk/contact-us.
  • SANEline is a national out-of-hours mental health helpline offering specialist emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers. They are normally open every day of the year from 4pm to 10pm on 0300 304 7000.
  • Samaritans offer a safe place to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever is getting to you, big or small. Their 24 hour free phone helpline can be accessed on 116 123 or you can email jo@samaritans.org which may have a response time of several days.
  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call on 0800 689 5652 from 6pm to 3:30am every day.
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). You can call 0800 58 58 58 from 5pm to midnight every day if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.
  • Shout is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you can text SHOUT to 85258.
  • PAPYRUS is a national UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. PAPYRUS’ helpline, HOPELINEUK, is a free and confidential service for children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide. PAPYRUS advisers are here to support from 9am to midnight every day of the year by phone (0800 068 4141), by text (0786 003 9967) or by email at pat@papyrus-uk.org.
  • Childline  provides support for all under-19s in the UK. The helpline is 0800 1111 and it’s open 24/7. You can also contact them for help via email or access their 1-2-1 counselling service through their website: www.childline.org.uk/get-support
  • The Mix provides support for people under 25 and you can talk to them about your mental health, relationships, work life, school life, depression and any other issues you're dealing with. Call on 0808 8084 994 from 4pm to 11pm Monday to Saturday, live chat on their website or request support by email using this form on their website. You can also contact their crisis messenger 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by texting THEMIX to 85258.

At Network Homes, we have an online mental health and wellbeing resource centre on our website which features all of these support services as well as tips, information and advice for improving wellbeing in day to day life. Click here or the button below to visit our mental health and wellbeing resource centre.

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