Mind in Salford and Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest (CHWF) have teamed up to launch their brand new project, Rainbow Mind.

This new project exists to tackle mental health issues amongst individuals in the LGBTQ+ community across Greater Manchester and London, and is mainly led, staffed and directed by LGBTQ+ people.

The goal is to offer non-judgemental support in a safe environment for individuals, where they can be comfortable enough to share how they are feeling, something the LGBTQ+ community may feel they cannot have in a traditional mental health service.

Mind in Salford and Mind in CHWF have already began their work, such as their Radical Self-Care training. This training has been designed by experienced practitioners, and teaches self-care and mindfulness skills to help individuals with their mental health.

As well as this, the project also includes a 1 to 1 counselling service, which will offer up to eight sessions per client and is free of charge. This will be based in Mind in Salford, and can help with general anxiety and stress, depression, questioning your sexuality, and issues related to this.

A project like this is necessary with mental health becoming an issue in the LGBTQ+ community. This is shown in a 2017 health report by Stonewall, an LGBT+ rights charity.

Infographic created by Aroob Raja.

Residents of Salford have shared their thoughts on this new project.

Lewis Young, a Swinton resident, said: “I think it’s good that it’s run by people in the LGBTQ+ community. When it comes to therapy, it helps to know the people doing the helping have been in your position and know what you’re going through.”

Hannah Mortimer, a Worsley resident, said: “I think it’s a great idea. Having LGBT professionals takes away a misunderstanding from therapists and patients.

“It diminishes any chance that a therapist may have internalised homophobia.

She added: “I think it’s great that LGBT people can talk about LGBT discrimination, health issues, coming to terms with their sexuality etc., with someone who they can identify with and someone who can show them they aren’t the only one like this.”

Ella Otomewo, University of Salford alumnus, said: “LGBT people are disproportionately more likely to have mental health problems because of trauma, discrimination, these kinds of things.

“So, it’s definitely important to have a specific organisation or project that’s geared towards LGBT people, for people who may feel nervous about going to therapists because then they have to out themselves.

“It’s like ‘will this therapist understand what it’s like to be trans, or bisexual, or a lesbian…’ And that can be a barrier for people who don’t understand how much effort it is to come out and explain themselves, when actually what they want to do is talk about themselves, their life, and the assistance they need.”

For more information on this new project, or if you would like to get involved, feel free to email: contact@rainbowmind.org

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