Government must provide appropriate mental health supports for LGBTI+ community - Mark Ward TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has called on the government to provide the appropriate mental health supports for the LGBTI+ community.
Teachta Ward is a member of the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Mental Health, which met with BeLonG To, an LGBT youth organisation in Ireland which caters for young people, and Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).
Teachta Ward said:
“We had a very informative meeting of the Sub-Committee on Mental Health where we met with representatives of BeLonG To and TENI. The timing of this meeting was to coincide with the start of Pride month.
“Covid has shone a light on the frailties of the mental health services, and we have heard that the short fallings in access to appropriate services have impacted all members of society.
“We received a comprehensive report that stated that 93% of LGBTI+ young people said that they were struggling with anxiety, stress or depression during Covid-19.
“This was in comparison to 53% of the general youth population
“The report further went on to state that 55% of LGBTI+ young people are struggling with suicide ideation. 45% of LGBTI+ young people are struggling with self-harm. 60% of LGBTI+ young people are experiencing loneliness.
“Some 42% of respondents said they were not fully accepted in their home environments due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, with 53% of LGBTI+ young people surveyed indicating their home environment is not a good place to be during Covid-19 restrictions
“These findings are stark and we need to put in place measures aimed at reducing the harm done to LGBTI+ young people that negatively impacts on their mental and physical wellbeing.
“The Minister needs to put in specific measures to ensure that the LGBTI+ community are not unduly impacted by Covid and by an inability to access the services they require.
“I am calling for the Minister for Mental Health to immediately put in place the measures called for in the recent successful Sinn Féin motion A Mental Health Crisis: An Emergency Response.
“This motion called for an increase in investment in counselling services, which would provide access to life-saving talk therapies for members of the LGBTI+ community.”
The BeLonG To report to the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Mental Health can be read here.