LGBTQIA people are set to benefit from more accessible mental health services following the funding of over £260,000 from the Department of Health.
Health Minister Robin Swann has announced an additional £6.02m for the Mental Health Support Fund. Over 80 other charities and organisations working across NI have received additional funding to help and support people with their mental health and wellbeing. The Rainbow Project, in partnership with HEReNI received £262,851 to invest in the growing demand for counselling and mental health services.
John O’Doherty, Director of the Rainbow Project said: “This investment in our Mental Health services couldn’t have come at a more important time. The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic has been felt by communities across the world and the need for mental health support services has never been greater. Throughout the last two years, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of clients seeking to access our services and those of our partners. We are excited to be working with our partners in HEReNI on this important project and know we can have a substantial impact on the lives of many LGBTQIA+ people through this project.”
Cara McCann, Director of HEReNI said: “This funding will make a substantial positive impact on the LGBTQIA+ community here in Northern Ireland. Covid 19 has increased the need further to enhance our mental health service provision. This funding is timely and will increase the capacity of HERe NI and The Rainbow Project to deliver lifesaving mental health services. We look forward to progressing with this work with our partners in The Rainbow Project and I would also like to thank the Department of Health for this funding”
John O’Doherty, Director of the Rainbow Project continued: “We want Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Asexual people to live without discrimination and inequality in NI. Unfortunately, we know overall that LGBTQIA people have experienced poorer mental and physical health compared to the wider NI population. The Rainbow Project provides the only co-cultural LGBTQIA specific counselling service in NI. Our Counselling services offers an opportunity to talk in confidence about challenges, losses, problems or issues – these are not always connected to sexual orientation or gender. These issues have been massively exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic with members of our community facing unemployment, pressures in their workplaces, closure of LGBTQIA safe spaces and some facing difficult or even hostile home situations.
“We want to thank Minister Robin Swann and the Department of Health for this funding as we will now be able to expand our services, counselling team and provide the much needed mental health support that our community need”