Tackling LGBTQ+ youth mental health inequalit: mapping mental health support across the UK

Emily Pattinson, Elizabeth McDermott, Rachael Eastham, Elizabeth Hughes, Katherine Johnson, Stephanie Davis, Steven Pryjmachuk, Olu Jenzen, Ceu Mateus

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Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) experience higher rates of mental health distress than reported in the general population, yet are far less likely to seek support services. Factors such as homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, cis-heteronormativity, fear of judgement and lack of staff awareness of LGBTQ+ identities are barriers to help seeking. This paper reports on the first stage of a study that investigated and mapped current LGBTQ+ youth speci"c mental health service provision across the UK. An online and offline service mapping exercise was undertaken to locate services. 111 services were identified across the search strategies, the majority in urban settings in England. There were three significant characteristics of LGBTQ+ child and adolescent mental health UK provision. Firstly, there was an absence of mainstream NHS support that specifically addressed the needs of LGBTQ+ young people. Secondly, the majority of LGBTQ+ youth mental health support was provided by voluntary/community organisations. Thirdly, there was a rare model of service based on collaborative working between NHS trusts and community/voluntary organisations. The results of this mapping exercise suggest that there is a reliance on the voluntary/community sector to provide mental health provision for LGBTQ+
young people. Furthermore, there was a distinct divergence in the approaches of the support provided by the voluntary/community sector and those from within the NHS. The affirmation of LGBTQ+ identities that is pivotal to the support provided by voluntary/community services contrasted with the ‘treating everyone the same’ approach prevalent in mainstream service provision. NHS mental health services must recognise that to tackle LGBTQ+ youth mental health inequality, statutory mental health support must address speci"cally the mental health needs of LGBTQ+ young people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20–29
Number of pages11
JournalThe British Student Doctor Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021


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