NIAMH & Rainbow Project are calling for #DignityinMentalHealth for LGB&/T communities for World Mental Health Day 2015.
Increasing evidence suggests that rates of mental ill health are significantly higher amongst the LGB&/T population than their heterosexual peers. There is still a lack of research and evidence base on the reasons behind this however, it is suggested that the disproportionate impact of poorer mental health outcomes amongst LGB&/T people is largely a symptom of the stigmatization they face within society and has been linked to experiences of discrimination, homophobia and bullying.*
Discriminatory attitudes may also be a factor that reduces help-seeking behaviors amongst LGB&/T people, stressing the need for culturally competent mental wellbeing services that show themselves as LGB&/T affirmative and treat service users with dignity as individuals.
In recent research conducted by the Rainbow Project on the mental health of the LGB&/T population in Northern Ireland show a worryingly high incidence of mental ill health: 35.3% of respondents experiencing self-harm, 25.7% experiencing a suicide attempt, 46.9% experiencing suicidal ideation, and 70.9% experiencing depression. It is clear that targeted action is needed to redress this health inequality and ensure that the mental health needs of the LGBT community are given parity of esteem.**
For World Mental Health Day, Rainbow Project has teamed up with Niamh wellbeing to spread the message that dignity and equality in society are pre-requisites to good mental health for all. Action on discrimination (both relating to mental health and to sexual orientation and gender identity) is essential in tackling emotional health inequalities facing the LGB&/T community.
For the LGB&/T population: look out for your mental health – arming yourself with the tools necessary to take care of your mental wellbeing and feeling able to recognize the warning signs when you need support are all ways of staying mentally fighting fit. For wider society: as a society we need to commit to challenging the discriminatory attitudes that contribute to poorer mental health amongst LGB&/T communities and respect everyone’s freedom to be treated fairly and with dignity.