BeLonG To Youth Services conducted an online survey (“LGBTI+ Life in Lockdown”) in May of this year, on the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on LGBTI+ young people in Ireland. Many LGBTI+ young people have always experienced significantly increased rates of depression, anxiety and suicide ideation and these mental health challenges are compounded by COVID-19. Some of the key findings from the BeLonG To study highlighted the loss of access to supports which the community rely on for their well being and being confined to spaces that are unsupportive of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, such as family homes.
- 93% of LGBTI+ young people are struggling with anxiety, stress, or depression
- 53% of LGBTI+ young people are struggling with suicide ideation
- 45% of LGBTI+ young people are struggling with self-harm
- 48% of LGBTI+ young people regard their mental health as bad or very bad
- 60% of LGBTI+ young people are experiencing loneliness.
Here in the west of Ireland, Amach! LGBT Galway are conscious of the issues for the LGBTI+ community, especially those living in Direct Provision, the isolation of older members and those living in rural areas, and young people living at home without support.
In response to COVID-10 restrictions, we have transferred our physical and mental health activities online, including our weekly virtual Drop-In. We are in the process of setting up an Intergenerational Buddy system where a younger person is matched with an older member of the community to reduce isolation and loneliness. We are collaborating with Age Action and Alone on this initiative.
In collaboration with the Office for Suicide Prevention in Galway, SOS delivered the WRAP Programme to members of the LGBT+ community in Galway, before COVID-19. Evaluations from participants were excellent and included comments like: “…gave me hope that I can get through the worst times”; “…positive and fun experience in terms of resources used and information gained”. We look forward to another delivery from SOS at some time in the future.
LGBTI+ people are less likely to access mainstream mental health services as they do not see these services as inclusive of them. For support, contact Amach! LGBT Galway: firstname.lastname@example.org or 089 2358476
email@example.com or 01 6706223
LGBT helpline 1890 929 539
Amach! LGBT Galway.