Talk about drugs
Worried about your drug use? Want some help and support? Need someone to talk to?
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation is working with Greater Manchester West NHS Foundation Trust, to deliver a service that can help. The service is free, confidential and anonymous and offers brief support for LGB people who want to talk about drugs.
We’ve been working in partnership with Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, to develop a pilot project for LGB&T people who are concerned about drugs. The service is a pilot project and will run every Monday for 6 months, from our building between 4pm and 8pm and is accessed by booking an appointment. As the support on offer is brief, it is unfortunately unsuitable for those with long-term, complex issues around substance misuse.
The service will operate on an appointment basis and will provide:
- An assessment with a Drugs Worker who will also be able to provide information, support, advice and onward referrals
- Up to three sessions of support with a specialist, who can help you to make the changes you want to see
On alternate weeks of our appointment only service, we are also excited to be able to provide a sexual health screening service, delivered by Manchester Centre for Sexual Health, which will run alongside the Drugs Clinic. If this also interests you make this clear when you initially get in touch and we arrange your appointment.
On the weeks this is not being held at The LGF, people can access this service at one of our other testing sites nearby.
The service is available to those who live in Greater Manchester.
Appointments are available for Mondays between 4pm-7pm The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, Number 5, Richmond Street, Manchester M1 3HF. To book you can call in, ring 0845 3 30 30 30, or text APPOINTMENT and your first name to 07825 254898.
For more information, call us on 0845 3 30 30 30 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently asked questions about this service
The Drugs Clinic service is part of a pilot project being delivered by The Lesbian & Gay Foundation and Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust. The clinic is every Monday between 4pm and 8pm (last appointment at 7pm) and is open to anyone aged 18+ who identifies as LGB or T and is concerned about their drug use.
We asked Chris Todd, Clinical Psychologist from Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust to answer the most frequently asked questions we get about the drugs clinic.
1. Chris, can you tell us a bit about your role?
I’m a clinical psychologist and I work for Greater Manchester West Mental Health Foundation Trust, in substance misuse services. I’m based in an inpatient unit in Prestwich but I also work in a few different community services including Salford and Trafford.
My role is to work with people to understand their thoughts, feelings and behaviour, and look at ways they can overcome difficulties in their life.
2. What type of people do you typically work with?
I work with people who have problems or concerns about their use of alcohol or drugs, or maybe have an addiction (a psychological or physical dependency on a particular substance). The thing about this area of work is that there is no ‘typical’ person or presentation.
People I see come from all walks of life, ages and backgrounds. The reasons they use drugs, and the impact it has had, can be very different too.
3. What type of drugs are the people you work with using?
Again, it varies a lot – it can be ‘party’ drugs (such as cocaine, MDMA, mephedrone, GBL, ketamine), or cannabis, or heroin. Not all drugs are illegal, some are ‘over the counter’ (such as codeine), prescription medication (such as sleeping tablets, painkillers, valium) ‘legal highs’ or alcohol.
4. I’m interested in coming along to one of the Drugs Clinics, but I don’t know what to expect?
We know that a lot of people are nervous when coming to a new service, so we do our best to welcome you and put you at ease. It’s an anonymous and confidential service, so you don’t have to give any information unless you want to (including your real name), and we won’t discuss your problems with anyone else.
We will ask you to complete a short form when you arrive to let us know about your needs, and then discuss this with you.
5. Who else will be there? Are there other workers?
As well as me, there will be an experienced substance misuse practitioner, who is knowledgeable about all aspects of drug and alcohol use. We will also have trained volunteers who will be there to greet you, make you a brew, answer any questions about the service, and help complete the anonymous assessment form.
Every other week, there will be a sexual health nurse (until 5.30pm) who can also offer screening and advice at the same time. See www.lgf.org.uk/testing for more information.
6. How can you help me? What will I be expected to do?
The first step is to find out about you and how you see your drug and alcohol use, in a 1-to-1 session that will last up to 45 minutes. We will give you some feedback about what the problem might be, and discuss what might help. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and then make a decision about what is right for you.
For some people this will be giving some advice and information there and then. For other people, we might offer some more sessions to think about supporting them to make changes. For those that seem to have a physical dependency, we would help to refer you to a specialist service in your local area.
7. I’m worried about being judged, it’s putting me off coming to the clinic
We have set up this service because we believe that we can offer help and support to LGBT people in a friendly space. At the end of the day we are professionals who are passionate about working with drug and alcohol use – we want to help, not judge!
8. I’m not sure my problems are bad enough to access a drugs service
There are lots of different kinds of ‘drug service’, for different issues. We know from recent surveys that many people would like some kind of support, but would not see themselves as needing a traditional ‘community drug team’. That’s why this is really just a starting point that’s suitable for everyone.
If someone wanted or needed more intensive help, we’d certainly pursue that – but for lots of people just having a chance to think what’s going on with their drug use is the most important thing.