BeLonG To Youth Services Launch New LGBT Mental Health Initiative
Thursday, 06, September 2012
Today, Thursday, September 06th, BeLonG To Youth Services unveiled LGBT Youth Mental Health Ireland, a project which specifically supports LGBT young people around the country to develop positive mental health. The project was launched by Minister of State for Equality, Disability and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch T.D. who is a strong advocate for LGBT youth.
Through an in depth vital needs analysis the project has identified the top five mental health related areas where LGBT young people need particular support. These areas are: 1) Self-harm; 2) Suicidal Ideation; 3) Poor Body Image; 4) Low Self Esteem; 5) Depression & Anxiety. An easy to use pocket-sized resource to accompany the project is also being launched today. This resource gives tips on how to support an LGBT young person in need and the contact details of important referral services.
The project will also deliver training to youth workers, volunteers and parents through BeLonG To’s national network of LGBT youth groups. This network of 19 youth groups located throughout Ireland worked with almost 3,000 LGBT young people last year, a number which is set to be surpassed in 2012.
Speaking at the launch of the new BeLonG To initiative, Minister Kathleen Lynch T.D. said: “It is clear that LGBT young people are particularly vulnerable to poor mental health as a result of isolation, bullying and homophobia. We have a responsibility to ensure that these young people are supported properly and that they are told that they are valued and cared for. In 2012 no young person should be made suffer because of who they are. I commend BeLonG To for their tireless and innovative work to support LGBT young people and to make Ireland a better place for them. Their work has been acclaimed as good practice internationally and I would like to acknowledge it here today. Together with their partners in the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention, they have made such a huge difference to young people’s lives. The launch here today of BeLonG To’s LGBT youth mental health project is the next stage in their vision to make Ireland a better and safer place in which to grow up gay.”
Also speaking at the launch, BeLonG To National Mental Health Officer Ashling Flynn said:
“We believe that our national network of vital LGBT youth groups is the ideal place to deliver this innovative mental health promotion project. Already this network provides life-saving support to young people who are experiencing bullying and isolation and the poor mental health that can result from this. We believe that this project will result is far greater support being provided to at-risk LGBT young people – a group that we have always be particularly concerned about.”
LGBT Youth Mental Health Ireland is just one of many initiatives BeLonG To Youth Services are involved in as well as providing, care, counsel and support. For more information visit www.belongto.org or join the conversation at twitter handle https://twitter.com/BeLonG_To
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