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LGBT Scots with mental health issues face dual stigma

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Warning of dual discrimination faced by LGBT people with mental health issues.

LGBT people in Glasgow with mental health problems can face dual discrimination, a new support group has warned.

According to LBGT Health and Wellbeing, many people who are experiencing mental health problems can be left isolated with few places to speak to people about how they are feeling.

The group said many of its members had encountered stigma both from mental health services and the LGBT community.

Organisers now hope that by raising awareness of the issue they can help improve mental health awareness and tackle discrimination.

There is nowhere in the scene in Glasgow to speak about mental health and it isn’t very welcoming of mental health issues

Jenny Speirs, who runs the group, said: “A lot of people in the LGBT community experience mental health issues but have a lot of barriers accessing service and support groups.

“Unfortunately we know some people do experience homophobia, biphobia and transphobia when trying to access services.

“There is a lack of understanding about what needs LGBT people have, there is an assumption that the mental health problems are because they are LGBT, but that isn’t always the case.

“But there is also stigma within the LGBT community which just isn’t talked about. There is nowhere in the scene in Glasgow to speak about mental health and it isn’t very welcoming of mental health issues. People feel very judged if they are out – there is no space for discussion.

“So people face discrimination because of their sexuality and their mental health, but there is no place where they can speak about them both together, they don’t feel able to speak about their sexuality in mental health services and they can’t speak about their mental health in the LGBT scene in Glasgow.”

The group meets every two weeks and is funded by See Me, the national programme to end discrimination.

Calum Irving, See Me programme director, said: “It is really important that LGBT people have a space in Glasgow they can come together to talk about these important issues.

“No one should ever have to feel ashamed or embarrassed about their mental health or sexuality and this project is doing great work to not only empower those taking part, but looking to improve the lives of others in the future.”

The group is running an event at the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) on 11th October at the Glad Cafe in Glasgow, where they will present films and have a panel discussion.



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