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.