Monthly Archives: April 2017

LGBT Inclusive Mental Health Services | New Guide

Sunday, December 16, 2018

A drive to improve mental health services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people has begun today with the launch of a new guide by the Mental Welfare Commission.

The guide, which was co-produced with LGBT Health and Wellbeing, has been launched in a bid to increase awareness of LGBT rights amongst mental health professionals, and help health and social care services to deliver more person-centred care and support.

It aims to address inequalities in the support and treatment of LGBT people across Scotland’s mental health services, and features a number of recommendations for making services more accessible and LGBT-friendly. Copies will be sent out to all psychiatric wards in Scotland, as well as primary care and community services.

Dr Gary Morrison, Executive Director (Medical) at the Mental Welfare Commission said:

 “We are excited to announce the publication of our new guide on LGBT inclusion in mental health services.

“LGBT people experience higher rates of mental disorder and are much more likely to think about suicide or self-harming. They are also more likely to have negative experiences when accessing mental health services.

“We hope that by producing this guidance we can help eliminate discrimination against LGBT people in mental health services, and equip health and social care professionals with the information they need to provide the best possible care and support.”

Maruska Greenwood, Chief Executive at LGBT Health and Wellbeing, said:

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Commission on this guide. Through our work with LGBT people we know the tremendous positive difference it makes to individuals to be able to engage with service providers who do not make assumptions, judge or stigmatise them because of their minority sexual orientation or gender identity. We hope this guide will reach new audiences with the important message that acceptance and inclusion are key to supporting LGBT people experiencing poor mental health.”

Catherine Somerville, Campaigns, Policy and Research Manager at Stonewall Scotland, also supported the launch of the guide:

“It is really positive to see the Mental Welfare Commission putting in place this much needed guidance to support mental health professionals to better meet the needs of their LGBT patients. Our research suggests that half of mental health workers, including counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists do not recognise the relevance of sexual orientation to someone’s health needs (Unhealthy Attitudes, 2015). This guidance is an important step forward to make sure that LGBT people can access mental health services with confidence.”

The document is available here.

Note to Editors

The rate of suicidal ideation and self-harm for LGBT people is 20-25%, compared with 2.4% for the general population.

Jamie Wilson  0131 313 8782

Service Evaluation Findings 2016

Sunday, December 16, 2018

235 people who use LGBT Health took the time to tell us what they thought about our services

 “A fantastic increase in the connection with the community around me. A huge increase in confidence about not only myself but around and with other people.”

 “Better mental health, feel more supported, more in touch with the LGBT community, and feel much less socially isolated.”

 “Without LGBT being in existence, I would have been so lonely and isolated in the world. Self-harming and feelings of suicide would be on my mind constantly.”

We conducted our annual Service Evaluation again in late 2016 to find out more about who uses our services and what you think of them.

The survey, completed by 235 respondents, gave us lots of feedback which will be invaluable in further developing our services. Here is a summary of what you told us:

Key findings

 “This is the best organisation I have ever been supported by. With the hardest working and most talented and committed staff”

  • LGBT Health is engaging with a really wide range of individuals of all ages
    who identify right across the LGBT spectrum – and beyond
  • 91% of you rated our staff as excellent or very good
  • 81% of you said that you found the quality of our services as excellent or very good
  • 79% of you rated your overall experience of the organisation as excellent or very

What difference LGBT Health has made for you

 “Meeting people who one can be totally at ease with. Going to things in a group that one would not otherwise attend or could not get to.”

  • 75% of you are more confident in seeking support
  • 69% of you reported that you feel better about yourselves
  • 67% of you feel more aware of services
  • 64% of you feel more connected to your community as a result of using our services
  • 58% report that you have better mental and emotional health

What you enjoy and value

 “I’ve gained a wealth of community support, much more connection to the community, individual support access to resources.”

“A fantastic increase in the connection with the community around me. A huge increase in confidence about not only myself but around and with other people.”

  • Social interaction
  • Sense of community and community support
  • Welcoming and accepting environment
  • Wide range of information and support
  • Improved wellbeing and self- awareness

Your suggestions for improvements
and our response

 “I’d like to see more information on services on Facebook as it’s a great way of notifying/reminding people. I have seen a great improvement recently, keep on doing that.”

  • Access and inclusion
    • We will continue to communicate with you in a range of ways, ensuring that information about what we do is readily available
    • We will continue to look at accessibility of our services and events
    •  We are committed to ensuring our services are inclusive and responsive to needs. The service evaluation allows us to continue to monitor our reach into the community
  • Publicity and promotion
    • In late 2014 we launched our new website and in 2016 we revamped our quarterly programme. We will continue to review our range of publicity tools during 2017
    • We will continue to develop our programme of events to ensure it remains varied

You also provided a wealth of suggestions for new or repeat activities, which we will certainly be referring to as we plan our programme over the coming year.

What you can do for us

Firstly do keep giving us your feedback, so we can ensure we deliver the services our communities need!

Also, the survey showed that many of you hear about us by word of mouth, which means that you can really help us to reach others by spreading the word.

Many thanks to all of you who responded. Your feedback really is invaluable to us!

What is transgender?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Download Booklet

A booklet to support people with learning disabilities who are exploring their gender is now available. LGBT Health and Wellbeing, as part of the LGBT Learning Disability project, brought together a team of practitioners to create this unique resource. Contributors included staff from NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Forth Valley, and the Equality Network.

Annette Rae, Edinburgh Service Manager with LGBT Health and Wellbeing,
explained that:
Research findings and direct experiences shared by people with learning disabilities who access our Transgender Support Programme, strongly indicate that people with learning disabilities can often be held back from understanding and expressing their transgender status.  Additional barriers include prejudice and discrimination in the wider society, as well as from staff, family and friends that can often result in greater instances of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and even self-harm and attempted suicide. Key messages from ‘What is Transgender’ is that it’s perfectly acceptable to be transgender and positive to explore your gender.  The booklet provides some options about how people might want to express their gender, some suggested next steps, and encourages people to seek support from and talk with others who they trust.

Tracy Lazenby-Paterson, Speech & Language Therapist with NHS Lothian,
commented that:
People with learning disabilities commonly have cognitive, language and memory problems that make it difficult for them to understand and express information effectively, particularly abstract and complex issues. They can often better understand and retain information when it is simple, straightforward, concrete, and supported with visual cues. The literature supports that transgender people with learning disabilities generally identify with concrete aspects associated with gender, such as specific behaviours and appearance, rather than with the more complex, multi-dimensional gender identity model.

When we translate complex and abstract concepts into a small amount of simplified and concrete information, inevitably a great deal of fine detail will be omitted. However, too much language and fine detail can easily overload the individual with learning disabilities, such that they may fail to understand or retain any of the information provided. ‘What is Transgender’ presents information in a format that people with learning disabilities can best understand and retain, and serves as a starting point from which they can further explore the many issues pertaining to transgender identity

For more information and comments about What is Transgender please contact Annette Rae at

April-June 2017 Programme

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Download the programme

Every month, we deliver a new series of events for the entire diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), non-binary, queer, intersex and asexual communities. Through the delivery of these events, we aim to increase social capital providing social opportunities, alternatives to the traditional LGBT scene, peer support, information and advocacy.

Our programme of social events support the range of services that we provide:

  • LGBT Headspace: safe and creative activities to promote positive mental health and wellbeing including monthly groups, Women’s Wellbeing Events and LGBT Space at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital
  • Transgender Programme: social activities, workshops and courses for transgender, non-binary and intersex communities including T time, a monthly meetup open to friends, families and allies
  • Rainbow Families Project: events, information and support for LGBTQI families
  • LGBT Age: social activities for people aged 50 and over
  • Mental Wellbeing Project: events, workshops and regular groups promoting mental wellbeing and techniques for self-management
  • Community Groups: weekly and monthly community groups self-managed and facilitated by community members

All our events are delivered under a Safe Space Commitment actively upheld by our staff, volunteers and community groups leaders. A Safe Space is somewhere everyone feels welcome, respected and comfortable with being who they are. This includes people who access our services, volunteers, community groups leaders and staff.

To keep updated with events coming up each month, you can subscribe to our range of e-bulletins which you will then received monthly or quarterly. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.