Charity sign Time To Change pledge to end mental health discrimination

Publish Date: 15/11/2011

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (The LGF) have become the latest organisation to sign the Time To Change pledge to end mental health discrimination.

Time to Change is England's biggest ever attempt to end the stigma and discrimination that faces people with mental health issues, run by the leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

The LGF’s Chief Executive Paul Martin OBE, and the charity’s Wellbeing Co-ordinator Lucy Rolfe signed the pledge alongside Time To Change Director Sue Baker at The LGF’s Community Resource Centre yesterday.

Paul Martin highlighted that within the lesbian, gay and bisexual community, mental health issues are pressing; “there is a two-fold excess in suicide attempts in LGB people compared to our heterosexual peers and 2 in 5 LGBT people has a clinically recognised mental health problem compared to 1 in 4 in the wider population. This is why it is so important that we link in with and support Time To Change.”

Sue Baker, Director of Time To Change highlighted the role that LGB&T organisations can play in reaching out to hard to reach LGB&T people: 

“It’s important that people from all communities challenge stigma and discrimination in mental health, and the impact of multiple discrimination, so we really want to reach out and get the support of organisations that can reach people who are experiencing many forms of discrimination where people are even more excluded.

“So working with organisations who can help reach into the LGB&T community of people with mental health issues is vital and the Lesbian & Gay Foundation are showing great leadership in making a pledge.”

The LGF support lesbian, gay and bisexual people with mental health issues in a variety of ways, from pop-ins to counselling sessions, from befriending programmes to art therapy.

The charity’s counselling service was even praised as an example of best practice in the Government’s Public Health strategy: Healthy Lives, Healthy People. The LGF have also recently started working with Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust in delivering a weekly mental health clinic.

The LGF’s Lucy Rolfe said: “This is an opportunity to reflect on the good work we already do, and push ourselves to strive for more. It’s so important that we are creating a safe space where people can talk to us. It makes a huge difference, and gives people hope.”

Baker also highlighted the importance of speaking out and support: “We want to encourage people to address stigma and discrimination in their own lives, but also to support each other. We understand that not everybody is willing to disclose their experiences, but the more of us that do, the more we can to educate the public in the most powerful way.”

vv See our picture gallery of the event below vv