Forum member Daniel Winstanley spells out why for this year's LGBT History month we should focus on our conversations.
Time to Talk Day (6th February) invites everyone to start a conversation about mental health, to combat isolation and stigma experienced by the one in four people in the UK who are affected by mental health problems. As it occurs in LGBT+ History Month, it’s worth talking as a community about where we were, were we are now, and what we hope for from the future.
LGBT+ people have had a difficult history with the medical profession – in past decades our community was medicalised, discriminated against and subject to “therapies” intended to “cure” us. Thanks to tireless activism, change has slowly occurred. “Homosexuality” was removed from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990 – in living memory for many of us. It was only last year that trans* identities ceased to be deemed “mental and behavioural disorders” in the ICD, but many people still fear pathologizing or problematic responses to disclosing their identity, and barriers to accessing healthcare.
Today - although we still have some way to go before mental health services are fully accessible, affirming and appropriate for all of our community - progress is being made both by mainstreaming LGBT issues within “generic” services, and thanks to the proliferation of LGBT+ specific mental health support. It’s important that our voices continue to be heard, so that our wellbeing needs can be met.
Time to Talk Day offers an opportunity to talk to others both within and across communities in an effort beat stigma, support one another, share resources, and let each other know it’s okay to ask for help. Talking has the power to change lives.
Daniel Winstanley - Reg MBACP (Accred)
To find out more about the Time to Talk campaign and how to start your own conversation, click here: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/time-talk-day/tips-talking-about-mental-health
NHS Information about LGBT+ mental health can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-issues-if-you-are-gay-lesbian-or-bisexual/#
And to find an LGBT+ service near you go to the LGBT Consortium website: https://www.consortium.lgbt/member-directory/