This mini-festival within the Dublin Pride festival will help to raise awareness of mental health issues affecting members of the LGBT community and seek to start conversations around mental health.
See Change, the national mental health stigma reduction partnership, alongside GLEN, BeLonG To and TENI hosted the Soapbox Session over the weekend at Outhouse, the LGBT community resource centre, kick-starting the Feel Good About Yourself Series.
Four speakers bravely told the attendees of their own mental health journeys in the context of their sexual and gender identities, how they have and still continue to live with mental health, and more importantly – how we all do. Maintaining good mental health is no different to maintaining good physical health. Ailbhe Smyth MC’d the event.
In 2012, research was conducted by See Change, National Disability Authority and National Office for Suicide Prevention on attitudes and behaviours of young people towards mental health problems. Key findings were:
- 72% would not want others to know about their mental health problem;
- 56% would hide a mental health problem from friends –up from 39% in 2010;
- 35% would delay seeking treatment for fear of letting others know about their mental health problem;
- 44% would not know what to do if someone close to them was experiencing a mental health problem;
- 32% would find it hard to talk to someone with a mental health problem.
Scott Ahearn, Outreach and Partnership Officer of See Change, said:
“From the research more needs to be done in the area of empowering people to have a conversation about mental health and not to be afraid of the topic. We want LGBT people to understand mental health problems are part and parcel of life and that help and support is available if they need it.”
As part of the series, people took to Twitter to discuss mental health in the LGBT community by using the hashtag #FGAY14.