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Focus on how well services meet the needs of LGBT+ people

More than 50 people attended our Mental Health Matters event looking at how well local services meet the needs of people who are LGBT+.

We were lucky to have two great guest speakers - Monty Moncrieff MBE, Chief Executive, London Friend, a charity working to promote the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, and Ben Hoff, Clinical Lead for Mental Health at the sexual health charity Spectra. Monty spoke about how attitudes to LGBT+ people had changed in recent years and how there was greater awareness in all fields.

However, he said many people are still not able to get the services that they need, have to wait for a long time to get help, and often experience a lower level of service. He highlighted studies that show there is still opposition and discrimination, and that many LGBT+ people are reluctant to reveal their sexuality. Monty said: “Although we have made great progress, there is still a long way to go.

Many people still do not feel about to disclose their sexuality at work, think about how long we spend at work and how it must feel if you cannot really be yourself all that time.” He spoke about many challenges faced by the LGBT+ community, including the increased incidence of mental health problems, with 40 per cent of LGBT+ people experiencing a mental health issue at some time in their lives, compared with 25 per cent of the population as a whole. Ben Hoff spoke about young people’s experiences of mental health services. He said nearly half of LGBT+ pupils say they are bullied at school and frequently hear homophobic slurs.

Ben said: “There is a huge issue with young people not getting the help that they need.  A study from 2018 indicates more than a third were not accepted into child and adolescent mental health services and nearly a third waited more than a year for treatment.” 

He showed a powerful film, made by Spectra, which told the story of one person, their experience and the issues encountered.

You can see the film, called Who is Alex, on YouTube.

Following the presentations there was a lively discussion, which included questions about whether mental health services were adequate.

C&I's Medical Director Dr Vincent Kirchner said that the Trust is working hard to address the issues. Dr James Gray, Consultant Clinical Psychologist said there was a lot of good work being done at the Trust but greater funding was needed.

The event, held in the Conference Hall at St Pancras Hospital, was the latest in our series of Mental Health Matters public presentations and discussions which are held every few months, focusing on different aspects of mental health and wellbeing.

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