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WORKERS and young people in the LGBT+ community experience higher levels of mental health problems than the rest of the population, TUC LGBT+ workers’ conference heard today.
Research by equality charity Stonewall showed that 42 per cent of gay men, 70 per cent of gay women and 90 per cent of gay women from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities have suffered mental health problems.
And, alarmingly, 60 per cent of young trans people have attempted suicide, the report shows.
According to the NHS, poor levels of mental health among the LGBT+ community have often been linked with homophobic and transphobic discrimination and bullying.
National Education Union delegate Nic Preston said he worked “day in day out” with young people, some of whom identify as LGBT+ and he had “never known a funding crisis such as the one we are facing in schools.
“We need more funding. We need the cuts to stop and we need training for staff and professionals. We need to have the resources and tools to support LGBT+ students.”
Musicians’ Union delegate Ian Lindsay said: “We are all aware that the government is hell-bent on taking away our public services and healthcare services by underfunding them.
“We must campaign and fight to not only preserve but to extend services to care for needs of LGBT patients and staff.”
One motion called on the TUC to lobby the government to prioritise funding for specialist LGBT+ health services in order to recognise diversity.
Steve Boyce from University College Union said that, just as with education, “one size does not fit all” in healthcare.
“Let LGBT patients sign up with an LGBT GP if they wish to,” he said. “Young LGBT people feel more comfortable asking questions to LGBT health providers.”
Another motion by the teaching union NASUWT called on the congress to campaign for mental health awareness training at schools and colleges, which specifically focuses on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Jacqueline Green of PCS said: “If you help LGBT+ children with coping mechanisms at a young age, if you tackle mental health at a young age, it means they can cope better in the future.”
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