What is Talk-It-Out and why is it important?
Talk-it-out is our counselling project aimed at meeting the specific needs of LGBT+ people. Although mental health professionals acknowledge that being an LGBT+ person does not mean a person is mentally ill, statistics show that LGBT+ people do suffer from higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal and self-harm behaviours than the general population.
Why is Talk-It-Out important?
Despite a more accepting society LGBT+ people, and especially transgender people, still suffer prejudice which results in minority stress. Minority stress results directly from being treated as ‘different’ in some way to other people. Some of this is deliberate – like being abused, bullied or excluded, sadly, sometimes by loved ones. Some of it is subtler and not necessarily intended – such as having to explain that they are different when people talk to an LGB person about their partner or when a transgender person is asked about their childhood. This can result in people feeling like there is something wrong with them or that they don’t ‘belong’. It means some people feel they must hide who they are – perhaps for many years – and it leads to feelings of guilt, shame and poor self-esteem. All these things can contribute to poor mental health. That is why we believe a dedicated service is needed and why our therapists are trained to understand the issues LGBT+ people face instead of clients having to educate their therapists. This is something that research points to as being a major obstacle faced by LGBT+ people in therapy.
We believe Talk-It-Out is a much-needed service, but currently it is a work in progress while we seek funding to provide the service to everyone who needs it. We do have therapists providing a small number of hours, at various locations across the county on a voluntary basis, but this is very limited currently and is far from ideal. People will soon be able to self-refer as an adult, or as a parent of a child who needs some help, and professionals will be able to make a referral on behalf of somebody else. To be completely honest it might take us a while to see you - currently we can make no guarantees. However, all is not doom and gloom because everybody who does make a referral adds to the body of evidence we are putting together to justify our ongoing funding bids. The more people request a referral, the more likely we are to be able to provide a county-wide, free service to the community.
How can I help?
You can help us in our efforts to secure funding by completing one of the following surveys:
For LGBT+/GSRD people who want to voice their opinions about the need for a dedicated counselling service: OutREACH Cumbria LGBT Counselling Survey- https://bit.ly/2DaR47L
For Health Care Professionals and Service Providers: Professionals working with LGBT people Survey- https://goo.gl/forms/LydSHWelAxjineEC3