Assessing the mental health and wellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population

Marcia Ash, Catherine Mackereth
Community Practitioner: the Journal of the Community Practitioners' & Health Visitors' Association 2013, 86 (3): 24-7
Health needs assessment is a fundamental tool in public health practice. It entails the identification of needs from a range of perspectives, including epidemiological data, the views of local and professional people, and the comparative needs of the group under consideration. This paper describes the process undertaken with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population of an area in the north-east of England. The findings were used to inform and influence commissioners and service providers about services and interventions that will address these needs, and bring about better emotional and mental health and wellbeing as identified by LGBT people themselves. Research shows that there are great inequalities in the experience of these groups when compared with the heterosexual population. This was confirmed by the local LGBT communities. Consultation with the LGBT population showed that they experience ongoing stigma and discrimination, despite the greater apparent acceptance of diversity within the community. Recommendations were identified, which particularly focus on increasing the visibility of these groups, highlighting training issues and addressing generic or specialist services, in order to reduce discrimination.

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