Mental Health and Suicide Awareness to Support Young LGBT+ members

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2019 National LGBT+ Conference
26 July 2019
Carried as Amended

Conference applauds the National Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender plus (LGBT+) Committee for the work undertaken to date to highlight the effects of austerity measures on LGBT+ workers, the services we provide and the knock-on effects of the reduction in those services.

Conference further notes that a range of governmental bodies, statutory services and civil society organisations evidence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender plus (LGBT+) people experience increased levels of common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and stress leading to suicidal ideation and action as a result of the negative impact of their experiences of discrimination and marginalisation both in the workplace and in wider society.

Young LGBT+ people in particular are identified as an “at risk” group. The Stonewall LGBT in Britain –Work Report (2018) notes:

• One in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 said they have attempted to take their own lives within the last year.

• Half of LGBT people aged 18-24 have thought about taking their own lives within the last year.

• Almost half of LGBT people aged 18-24 have deliberately self-harmed in the last year.

Additional available data on suicide and self-harm among young LGBT+ is stark and highlights the need for local and national suicide prevention strategies that consider LGBT+ issues in their approaches.

NHS Trusts are now starting to realise the importance around suicide awareness and, in particular mental health trusts, are beginning to put training as mandatory for staff to highlight the signs that someone may be heading towards crisis point.

With cuts to welfare and youth services Young LGBT+ members are more regularly turning to their UNISON reps for support with their mental health and it is therefore important that reps are suitably trained to be able to support and signpost staff to agencies that can give them the help they need.

A number of charities and organisations such as PAPYRUS, Young Minds, MIND and The Samaritans are doing important work to tackle mental health and suicide stigma and encourage additional support for those of the younger generations with poor mental health in the public services and it is important that UNISON supports and promotes organisations which are in line with its values.

Conference therefore calls on the National LGBT+ Committee to work with the National Young Members Forum, Service Group Executive Committees and the NEC to

1) Promote suitable organisations and charities working in the field of mental health and suicide awareness to branches and regional LGBT+ Self Organised Groups, such as PAPYRUS, Young Minds, MIND and The Samaritans.

2) Consider suitable methods to make training and awareness of identifying potential risks of suicide readily accessible to UNISON reps and regional LGBT+ groups.

3) Consider the provision of materials for pride stalls and other events with information and signposting to support LGBT+ young people within the area of Mental Health.