Why its important to discuss the LGBTQ+ community and Mental Health

Despite the valiant efforts we’ve made towards LGBTQ+ equality in recent years, many LGBTQ+ people still face significant barriers to leading
healthy, happy and fulfilling lives in the UK today.

Stonewall commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey asking more than
5,000 lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people across England, Scotland and
Wales about their life in Britain today.

Here are the key findings from the study

  • Half of LGBT people (52 per cent) said they’ve experienced depression in the last year.
  • One in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 (13 per cent) said they’ve attempted to take their own life in the last year.
  • Almost half of trans people (46 per cent) have thought about taking their own life in the last year, 31 per cent of LGB people who aren’t trans said the same.
  • Forty-one per cent of non-binary people said they harmed themselves in the last year compared to 20 per cent of LGBT women and 12 per cent of GBT men.
  • One in six LGBT people (16 per cent) said they drank alcohol almost every day over the last year.
  • One in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 (13 per cent) took drugs at least once a month.
  • One in eight LGBT people (13 per cent) have experienced some form of unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they’re LGBT.
  • Almost one in four LGBT people (23 per cent) have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT people by healthcare staff. In the last year alone, six per cent of LGBT people – including 20 per cent of trans people – have witnessed these remarks.
  • One in twenty LGBT people (five per cent) have been pressured to access services to question or change their sexual orientation when accessing healthcare services.
  • One in five LGBT people (19 per cent) aren’t out to any healthcare professional about their sexual orientation when seeking general medical care. This number rises to 40 per cent of bi men and 29 per cent of bi women.
  • One in seven LGBT people (14 per cent) have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination because they’re LGBT.

If you would like to read more, you can download the report using the following link – https://www.stonewall.org.uk/system/files/lgbt_in_britain_health.pdf

…it’s not something that defines me it’s just something I am and that’s not going to change.

This year us here at Harmless & The Tomorrow Project were planning on being at Pride and it was something I was extremely excited about, but with everything that’s happened it looks like Pride isn’t going to happen this year.

One of the things I love about Pride is how inclusive it is, anyone is welcome regardless of whether or not they’re apart of the LGBT community. And no one has to justify whether or not they are.

For me personally I am part of the LGBT community, when most people find that out it’s always a huge shock for them, especially with how casual I am with it. And I haven’t had a great amount of acceptance from my family over it. My mum wasn’t and still isn’t accepting of it and a lot of family still don’t know but it’s not something that defines me it’s just something I am and that’s not going to change.

And at Pride it doesn’t matter, no one cares, everyone’s just happy to be there so it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to when it’s back.

From one of us at Harmless & TP

Welcome to LGBTQ+ week

Daniel Quasar redesigns LGBT Rainbow Flag to be more inclusive

Join the Harmless & The Tomorrow Project team as we discuss this weeks theme focusing the LGBTQ+ community.

June is International Pride Month. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals with their straight allies gather in cities all across the world to celebrate their true selves while recognising the struggles they face.

Let’s let’s talk about the importance and power of pride, recognise the mental health challenges of the LGBTQ+ community, but most of all let’s celebrate diversity!

Food and Mood – by Lisa

If there is one thing that never fails to put me in a positive mood…..it’s cake!

I love cake, I love to eat it and I love making it. Cake has had a place in my life for as long as I can remember. We only ever had cake for very special occasions when I was a child. Now as an adult, there is always an opportunity to have cake and for me, the best way is to share it.

If ever I feel bored, lonely or sad, then I’ll make a cake. I love to experiment and try new flavours and there is nothing more homely for me, than the aroma of a freshly baked cake filling the kitchen. We use cake as a comfort: I’ll bake a cake to cheer people up, and we use cakes to celebrate occasions like birthdays, weddings etc. in fact we don’t really need an excuse to have cake in our house. It is just something we love to share together when we all get a chance to meet up.

When my children were small I made all of their birthday cakes. This was mainly because it was cheaper and I could make it so much bigger to share around the seven of us. Whilst I was no expert, I really enjoyed the challenge of creating my own masterpieces to meet with their requests. Over the years I have made numerous cakes for my friends and family and always feel a sense of pride when I hand the finished result over. For me, baking and decorating a cake for someone gives me a chance to switch off from everything else and put all of my time and love into making something tasty!

Here are a few of my creations:

Ayurveda – Harmonising mind and body

The practice of Ayurveda is, in essence, about harmonizing mind and body. And what you eat affects everything. An Ayurvedic diet is an eating plan that provides guidelines for when you eat, what you eat, and how you eat to boost your health, prevent or manage disease, and maintain wellness.

If you follow an Ayurvedic diet, you’ll eat primarily whole or minimally processed foods and practice mindful eating rituals. “Doshas” in Ayurveda refer to your unique physical and mental constitution, which influence your personal well-being. Each person has their own dominant dosha or combination of two or three and your dosha, or combinations, will determine your diet and routine. Your dosha is determined by things like your complexion, eye colour, how you handle stress, body temperature and many more. There are three types dosha:

Kaphas –  tend to have larger hips and shoulders and are prone to illnesses such as bronchitis and sinus problems when they are out of balance.

Pittas – have high energy levels and good muscle tone but are short tempered when out of balance. They are also prone to ulcers, allergies and skin rashes.

Vatas – tend to be slender and often feel cold. When out of balance, they are inclined to have arthritis and dry skin.

You can take a free test to see which one you are here: https://bit.ly/37jcqLR

You can find out more about what food to try to avoid and what food is best for your dosha type here: https://www.ayurveda.com/pdf/food-guidelines.pdf

Although determining your dosha can be difficult and the diet can be a little restrictive, there are many pros to Ayurveda. Some of the main benefits associated with Ayurvedic diets include:

  • Improved digestive and metabolic processes
  • Improved heath of the gut/microbiome
  • Weight management
  • Enhanced detoxification
  • Less anxiety and more inner calm
  • Improved fertility and sexual/reproductive health
  • Improved efficiency in the excretion process (help passing bowel movements)
  • Improved functionality and range of motion due to decreased inflammation

Aja Ireland,

Trainer

Our Belly and Our Brain

Before lockdown I delivered a training session discussing mental health intervention and a delegate on training working as a nutritionist providing feedback suggesting that we should focus more time in the session on our mental health and how our diet directly impacts it.She told me that our digestive system produces over 90% of all serotonin (the ‘Happy’ hormone) and is often dubbed as the ‘second brain’. With this in mind, I researched the benefits of having a healthy digestive system for our mental health. I learned that out gut can affect immunity and resilience to stress and in general helps us to absorb vitamins, minerals and nutrients which is vital for our brains to thrive.

On reflection, when I have felt stressed or anxious, I often feel it in my gut, this is because when we are anxious our digestive systems speed up or slow down, depending on how we are feeling. To make sure we are keeping our brains and our bellies happy we need to make sure we are eating gut-friendly foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, pulses, and basically plenty of fibre and lots of fluid along with regular exercise.

To learn more about our digestive system and our gut check out this TED talk from nutritionist Ruairi Robertson as he discusses the link between our gut and our brain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awtmTJW9ic8#action=share

~ Leanne

 

Food and mood – Some thoughts by Helen

Food and mood – This topic is highly emotive because after spending something like 15 years in the health and fitness industry, I have a little understanding of how our relationship with food often corresponds with good or bad phases of mental health or distress. Our eating habits are often indicators of whether all is well with us, and can be a form of subterfuge from distress, low mood, difficulties or anxiety. In our society we accept the notion of “eating for comfort” and equally accept the idea of “diet” without much thought around the impact both of these concepts have on us as individuals.

I am not averse to the idea of “breaking bread” with people we love, I love sharing a meal with friends and family, its more that the idea that food is either associated with over indulgence or deprivation, when in fact the kind of eating that enhances mood and well-being is much more about good nutritious food and relaxed regular eating. Thinking about what your body might need can be the key to the body feeling good.

Helen,

Suicide Bereavement Support Officer