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This Pride Month, we’ve been talking to our colleagues and volunteers at Kind Mind Community, our Recovery College in South Tyneside, about the kind of LGBTQ+ support they provide.

Until recently, there was very little mental health support available for trans people in South Tyneside.

Mental health problems can affect anyone, but they’re more common among LGBTQ+ people.

A recent study by Stonewall found that over the previous year, almost half of trans people had thought about taking their life. (1)

Being trans doesn’t cause mental ill-health. However, the discrimination and transphobia that many trans people experience can have a negative impact on their wellbeing.

Support in South Tyneside

Our team at Kind Mind Community, along with representatives from Inspire South Tyneside and First Contact Clinical, have been working to fill this gap and improve the support available for trans people.

The team have set up a support group for trans people in South Tyneside which is led by Tia, a trans woman who has also been supported by Kind Mind Community in the past.

Angie, Team Manager for our South Tyneside services, explains:

‘It’s great to be able to support Tia with setting up this group. We facilitate the group, but it’s really her project and will be shaped by the people it supports.

‘Through this group, we’re hoping to break down barriers and stigma. We’re reaching out to groups of people who usually don’t feel able ask for help from mainstream services. By nurturing this group, we’re opening up different avenues in the hope that people will be able to access the support they need.

‘The group isn’t prescriptive, instead the people who attend will have the arena to be able to develop the support they want to see.’

Tia, the group’s leader, explains:

‘The group offers a safe space where trans people can come together with other like-minded trans people and simply be themselves. A lot of people don’t have anywhere to turn, so we’re providing that support and sense of community for them.

‘We’re offering a range of support, including mental health and wellbeing support and peer support. We can offer advice on how to manage your emotions and handle situations, as well as how to progress on your journey and build the confidence to be who you want to be.

‘I’m passionate about supporting people on their journey and I understand how people might be feeling, because I’ve been there too. I want to use my lived experiences to help others. Even if my advice helps just one person, it makes all the difference.’

How to join

Tia’s support group is open to any trans person aged 18+ who lives or works in South Tyneside.

If you’re interested in joining the group, please get in touch with Kind Mind Community by calling 0191 217 2935 or emailing kindmindcommunity@mentalhealthconcern.org.

More support

If you’d like more support, here are some useful organisations:

  • Albert Kennedy Trust – supports young LGBTIQ+ people aged 16 to 25.
  • Gendered Intelligence – a trans-led charity that works to increase the quality of trans people’s lives.
  • Imaan – supports LGBTIQ+ Muslims and provides an online forum where people can share experiences and ask for help.
  • LGBT Consortium – a database of LGBTIQ+ groups, projects and organisations, including mental health services.
  • Stonewall – offers help and advice for LGBTIQ+ people and allies.
  • Switchboard LGBT helpline – offers information and support. All their volunteers are LGBTIQ+.

 

References

(1) https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-lgbtiq-people

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