First of its kind campaign launches to address the rise in poor mental health, drug use and HIV
Thursday, 23 June 2016
BeLonG To, the National LGBT+ Youth organisation, launches its peer-led Harm Reduction Campaign at Pride Dublin this year on Saturday 25th June.
Research shows that LGBTI people are twice as likely to use recreational drugs than the general population, with LGBT+ related stigma cited as the probable cause.
Concerns are doubly high because of the link between drug use and risky sexual behaviour which has been linked to the recent 33% increase in HIV diagnosis in gay men in Ireland.
This Pride, BeLonG To will launch the “You Matter A Lot” campaign created entirely by LGBT+ young people for LGBT+ young people. The first of its kind in Europe, the campaign will integrate a holistic harm reduction approach, with the inclusion of Mental Health, Sexual Health and Drugs harm reduction messaging and resources.
The campaign kicks off with the distribution of the You Matter A Lot Pack at Pride Village, which aims to reduce the harm caused by risky sexual behaviour and drug use among the LGBT+ community. The pack will also carry messaging to promote positive mental wellbeing and signpost LGBT+ people to relevant supports.
Ciara Sheehan, 18, who worked on developing the campaign said:
“The Drugs/Alcohol worker and LGBT+ young adults came together to discuss how we can make Pride safer 2016? We came up with the idea of harm reduction pack. We are addressing sexual health, mental health and harm reduction drugs and alcohol, within the pack, which I think is awesome, exactly what LGBT+ young adults need”.
The BeLonG To Pride Pack is a community response to the rising HIV and STI diagnoses, high levels of poor mental health and drug use among LGBT+ community, as direct impact experiencing homophobia and transphobia.
BeLonG To’s You Matter A Lot Campaign has been endorsed and supported by HSE’s – Gay Men’s Health Service, Gay Health Network, HIV Ireland, LGBT HelpLine, Gay Switchboard, Dublin LGBTQ Pride, Anna Liffey Drugs Project, Drugs.ie and North Inner City Drug and Alcohol Task Force.
Gerard Roe, Drug Education & Outreach Officer at Belong To said:
“BeLonG To runs the only Drugs Service targeting the LGBT+ community in Ireland. This Pride we want to reach out to LGBT+ young people to arm them with a resource pack that will help them look after their safety and wellbeing and to reduce harm if they choose to partake in risky behaviour. It’s the first time something like this has been done within the LGBT+ community here.”
What is in the BeLonG To “You Matter A Lot” Pride Pack?
Condoms, Lube, Information on Services for LGBT+ people nationwide,, a booklet on minimising risk if someone chooses to take drugs, a, Pen and some Badges.
5,000 BeLonG To Pride Packs will be distributed by volunteers at Pride Village in Merrion Square and surrounds on Saturday 25th June.
Jess, 18, developer of the campaign said:
“BeLonG To Pride Pack is arming young people with the means of keeping themselves safe in regards to sexual health, mental health, harm reduction drugs/alcohol around Pride. We are here to let LGBT+ young adults know, that they are worth looking after, which is a message they do not receive any where else”.
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