Mental Health and Well Being

Stress experienced because a person is LGBT - minority stress - has real and negative effects on the mental health and well being of LGBT people . GLEN is working to prevent LGBT suicide and promote LGBT mental health by increasing awareness of LGBT mental health issues, supporting mainstream services to be more LGBT-friendly, and establishing targeted supports for LGBT people. To achieve this we work closely with the National Office for Suicide Prevention, HSE Health Promotion, professional bodies, mental health agencies and LGBT organisations, leading new developments, policies and research to support LGBT people.

A priority for GLEN is to ensure that a climate of inclusion and support exists for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Ireland so they can realise their full potential and be free to participate in all aspects of Irish society. Life has improved significantly for LGBT people in recent years and there have been many welcome changes.

However, many LGBT people still have to face things like verbal abuse and harassment walking down the street and homophobic or transphobic bullying in school or the workplace. And for many LGBT people, younger and older, coming out to family, friends and colleagues remains a major life challenge. These additional life challenges faced by many LGBT people are often referred to as minority stress. Research has demonstrated that minority stress has real and negative effects on the mental health and well being of LGBT people.

GLEN is working to make Ireland a place where all LGBT people can feel safe and confident about being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity at home, in work and within the wider community; where LGBT people are included and not discriminated against in services and in legislation; where the necessary supports are accessible and appropriate for LGBT people; and where relationships between people of the same sex are seen as no different to relationships between heterosexual people.

GLEN Mental Health Programme

GLEN's mental health programme aims to prevent LGBT suicide and promote LGBT mental health by increasing awareness of LGBT mental health issues, supporting mainstream services to be more LGBT-friendly, providing professionals with resources and training, and establishing targeted supports for LGBT people.

We are working to eliminate LGBT minority stress by achieving significant change in Irish health policy and service delivery and by tackling the social and attitudinal barriers for LGBT people in Ireland. We are working to achieve an Ireland where all LGBT people can enjoy full equality, inclusion and participation in their family life, in work, in their local community and in the wider society.

The GLEN mental health programme is funded by the Health Service Executive and we work closely with a number of divisions within the HSE including the National Office for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health and Health Promotion to establish and achieve the objectives of the programme.

We focus on identifying strategies that will achieve positive change for LGBT people's mental health and wellbeing and focus in particular on the social and structural determinants of LGBT mental health and suicidality. We use the 4 Ps model to achieve our strategic objectives:

  • Raise the profile of LGBT mental health and suicide issues
  • Advocate for policies that promote LGBT mental health and well-being
  • Establish evidence for and implement programmes for LGBT mental health promotion and suicide prevention
  • Support capacity-building of professionals to ensure services are LGBT-friendly and respond appropriately to LGBT users of mental health and support services.

Implementation of the programme is achieved through working in partnership with a wide range of organisations including professional bodies, mental health services and LGBT groups.

Timeline of GLEN's Work on Mental Health & Well Being

2006

  • Odhrán Allen appointed GLEN Director of Mental Health (DMH)

2007

  • DMH appointed to HSE LGBT Health Committee
  • Funding secured from Community Foundation for Ireland for LGBT Helpline Project
  • Funding secured with BeLonG To from National Office for Suicide Prevention for the Supporting LGBT Lives study

2008

  • First GP guide produced by Irish College of General Practitioners in collaboration with GLEN
  • Psychological Society of Ireland produce position statement on equality and diversity in collaboration with GLEN
  • LGBT training provided to HSE Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention
  • ASIST training provided to LGBT community groups

2009

  • Supporting LGBT Lives report launched by Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney
  • GLEN and BeLonG To make joint presentation on findings of Supporting LGBT Lives to joint Oireachtas on High Levels of Suicide in Ireland
  • NOSP Annual Forum has special focus on LGBT mental health with presentations by GLEN and BeLonG To
  • Information leaflet targeting bereaved LGBT people produced by Irish Hospice Foundation in collaboration with GLEN
  • Funding secured from Age & Opportunity for Visible Lives study
  • LGBT training of HSE and other agency staff commenced

2010

  • LGBT mental health guide for LGBT people launched by President Mary McAleese
  • Guide for mental health nurses produced by Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing in collaboration with GLEN
  • LGBT Helpline launched with strategic support from GLEN
  • LGBT guide for helpline volunteers produced by Samaritans in collaboration with GLEN
  • GLEN became a partner in the See Change national mental health campaign

2011

  • Visible Lives report launched by Kathleen Lync, Minister with responsibility for mental health and ageing
  • Guide for psychiatrists produced by the College of Psychiatry of Ireland in collaboration with GLEN
  • Guide for social workers produced by Irish Association of Social Workers in collaboration with GLEN
  • Funding secured for development of training and good practice guide for oncology and palliative care services.
  • Funding secured with LINC from Pobal and Department of Health for 'Target 1000' lesbian mental health project in Cork
  • DMH appointed to HSE LGBT Health Advisory Group and Transgender Sub-Group

2012

  • Mental health guide for lesbian women produced by LINC in collaboration with GLEN and HSE as part of 'Target 1000' project
  • Submission made to HIQA to ensure relevant LGBT issues named in Safer Better Healthcare
  • Funding secured from NOSP for National Coordinator for LGBT Helpline
  • Oncology & Palliative Care Report Launched by Prof John Crown
  • LGBT Guide and training developed for Pieta House
  • DMH appointed to National Implementation Group for Reach Out

2013

  • LGBT guide for mental health services produced by GLEN in consultation with the Mental Health Commission launched by Patricia Gilheaney, CEO of MHC
  • Updated GP guide produced by Irish College of General Practitioners in collaboration with GLEN
  • www.lgbtmentalhealth.ie and mental health animations launched by GLEN and BeLonG To
  • GLEN a partner in the pilot ‘Feel Good About Yourself' mental health series during Dublin Pride
  • DMH presented at first INMO LGBT Conference on LGBT mental health
  • Odhrán Allen

    Director of Mental Health Odhran@glen.ie
Downloads
  • Supporting LGBT Lives

    WWW.GLEN.IE

    The most comprehensive survey of LGBT people's experiences at home, at school, at work, in the community and using services. It showed significant levels of 'minority stress' experienced by LGBT people.
    | 1436 kb | Download

  • Supporting LGBT Lives - Key Findings

    WWW.GLEN.IE

    Key Findings from the most comprehensive survey of LGBT people's experiences at home, at school, at work, in the community and using services. It showed significant levels of 'minority stress' experienced by LGBT people.
    | 467 kb | Download

  • Visible Lives

    WWW.GLEN.IE

    The Visible Lives study is the first study of its kind in Ireland. It documents the experiences and needs of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and draws on these experiences to identify effective strategies to support positive ageing among older LGBT people.
    | 1005 kb | Download