Mental Health & the LGBTQ+ Community🧡

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Pride Month and Positive Wellbeing!🏳️‍🌈

What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?

L for Lesbian, G for Gay, B for Bisexual and T for Transgender…

In more recent years, more identities have been added to the term:

Q stands for Queer or Questioning.

I stands for Intersex, those that don’t fit into specific gender norms of “man” or “woman”.

A stands for Asexual, those that don’t feel any type of attraction to either sex.

Lastly, the plus (+) part of the term can refer to anyone who is pansexual, polyamorous, non-binary, gender fluid and more.

Why do we need Pride Month?

Historically, being a part of the LGBTQ+ community was considered a mental illness, medical professionals would refer individuals for psychiatric help and conversion therapy. Now, the World Health Organisation has declassified homosexuality as a mental illness but more still needs to be done… as multiple countries around the world still criminalise same-sex relations.

Based on this, it is no surprise that when we look at the LGBTQ+ community and mental health, many suffer with high rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Over the years, the celebration of pride around the world has helped beat isolation, oppression, discrimination and exclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Pride provides the world with a platform to challenge governments, law, organisations and institutions. On a personal level, pride can boost positive wellbeing and mental health.

Pride and Wellbeing Support at Majesticare

In each of our care homes and even in the Central Team we have LGBTQ+ allies! This is important to provide unconditional acceptance and support to anyone who may need it. It also spreads more awareness and education surrounding pride not only in June but all year round!

We asked some of our allies the following three questions:

  1. What does it mean to you to be an ally?
  2. What does pride mean to you?
  3. How important do you think it is to have allies within the homes?

Here is what they had to say…

Hazel Tyrrell from Cavendish Park

“Being an ally means I will do my best to be approachable for all my residents and team regardless of gender, race and sexuality. I believe it is nice to have designated allies in the home so people have someone they can talk to, however, I also believe people will talk and open up to someone they trust so it is important to have these people available”

Matilda Boswell from Milton Ernest Hall

“To be an ally in the home comes with understanding, we can support and embrace people for who they are but also show that we are all equal despite any differences. For me, pride is a very personal topic. Growing up and seeing my dad express and accept himself has come with its ups and downs but he is now super happy and living the best life he can knowing who he proudly is. It is incredibly important to have allies in the homes to create a safe space. We can also educate the residents and the team in a way everyone can understand!”

Ahmad Dib from Cavendish Park

“Being an ally in my care home means that I have respect and acceptance for every person in my home regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. To me, Pride is about celebrating everyone’s true authentic selves. It is very important to have allies within the care homes as we want everyone to feel comfortable and accepted, it is also important that we make sure we strive for equality in our homes.”

Vicky Hornibrook from Milton Ernest Hall

“Pride to me means that you should be proud of who you are and what you stand for – whatever that may be! I feel when the home has allies, it ensures people are aware they will be supported to truly be themselves at work. It is really important for me to be an ally in the home, I want people to feel comfortable and feel as if they can trust me. I think it is so important for everyone to feel comfortable to be that person, at home or at work.”

Tracey Maksymowicz from Cavendish Park

“Pride means belonging, knowing who we are, not being ashamed of ourselves! Pride month gives everyone the opportunity to embrace difference, support it and celebrate how our LGBT+ community continue to enrich our British Society by being true to themselves. I deliver training on LGBT+ awareness within Cavendish Park which focuses on the importance of inclusion and diversity, that we are all valued! It is important to have awareness of the struggles the LGBT+ community have had and continue to have, enabling us to support the residents and staff who are in this community from our Cavendish Park family!”

Mel Hoskins from Cavendish Park

“Being an LGBTQ+ ally is a privilege for me. Being able to support, empower and enable residents, colleagues and visitors to our home to be their true selves is something I am truly passionate about. Education and awareness is key to overcoming prejudice and ignorance and I am proud to be part of a team that can help deliver that and encourage inclusivity within our family. Pride is about expressing who we are, being proud of the people we are and being kind to one another. It is extremely important. Through showing support for everyone and demonstrating that we value everyone regardless of beliefs, culture and sexuality, we nurture an environment where everyone can thrive and be their true selves”

How are LGBTQ+ communities more susceptible to mental illness?

According to the Mind Charity, the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to develop…

  • low self-esteem
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • eating problems
  • misuse of drugs and alcohol
  • self-harm
  • suicidal feelings

This is due to the exclusion and isolation of these individuals in society, the emotional experiences that some may suffer during the coming out period and common homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

In opposition, it is also worth discussing the positive impacts on you mental wellbeing when LGBTQ+ individuals really embrace their identify with confidence. Often this can lead to improved friend and family relationships, a sense of real belonging, self-acceptance, freedom in self-expression and increased resilience!

How does Pride Month benefit mental health?
  • Connection: The LGBTQ+ community can often feel disconnected from friends, family and society. Marches, social media and articles not just over Pride Month but all year round can help everyone feel a sense of inclusion and affirmation.
  • Allyship: Allies, as discussed in our previous blog post, inspire support. It brings validation, a safe space and encouragement. This is why it is important for us to have allies within the homes…
  • Representation: Day to day in your local community is hard to see a representative population of LGBTQ+ alike individuals due to a heteronormative society. With Pride Month, a boost of representation seen everywhere brings a sense of belonging and confidence.
  • Getting involved! Pride activities can stimulate a sense of purpose with a release of those feel good endorphins, the natural pleasure chemicals. Whether this is a Pride Party, a meet-up or a march… there is a sense of major gratitude and acceptance.
  • Identity: When individuals do not feel affirmed in their life, mental abuse and negative mental wellbeing can be a result of this. Present in research, LGBTQ+ individuals go through stages of confusion, comparison, tolerance, acceptance, pride and synthesis. Standing confidently alongside someone going through these stages can really ease the process!
  • Role Model: More recently in modern media we see more inclusion and diversity in sports figures, presenters, leaders, actors and more. This makes an impact! Seeing someone with a similar identity to yourself can help that comparison stage. The hurdles feel a little easier to jump over when you see someone has got through it before you. It can inspire the next steps…

Sources of help for you and others…

The NHS have recently partnered with the organisation MindOut. MindOut are a mental health service ran by and for the LGBTQI+ community. To find out more about MindOut click below!

MindOut Website

Mental Health really should be a priority and focus around Pride Month as it is at the #heart of what it really means to feel safe, secure and happy!

#WellbeingWednesday #MentalHealth #PrideMonth

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