BeLonG To Announce A New Mental Health Campaign For LGBTI+ Youth

BeLonG To Youth Services, the national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex youth has announced a new mental health campaign supported by Bank of Ireland.

A group of young people from BeLonG To marching down the street holding a trans flag
Image: Photographer: Alex Ricoller

The new campaign by BeLonG To will aim to promote a more positive ‘help-seeking’ attitude across the LGBTI+ youth community for those struggling with mental health problems to seek assistance. The campaign was designed in consultation with LGBTI+ young people, mental health professionals and youth workers all around the country.

Despite huge leaps in LGBTI+ rights with the passing of the Gender Recognition Act and the Marriage Equality Referendum, research has shown that anti- LGBTI+ stigma is still prevalent and results in significantly higher mental health challenges for young LGBTI+ people.

The LGBTIreland Report published in 2016 found that 56% of LGBTI+ people aged 14 to 18 had self-harmed, 70% had suicidal thoughts and one in three had attempted suicide. There was a link between young people having experienced LGBTI+ based bullying, social exclusion, fear or rejection with serious mental health difficulties.

Moninne Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To Youth Services states, “We are now living in a more inclusive Ireland, but our experience and research shows that LGBTI+ young people still need support and guidance when it comes to mental health. With this campaign we’re hoping to highlight that seeking help is always worth it. We want to show that sharing problems can be a liberating and life-saving experience.”

Moninne continues, “We also want to help young people to understand that getting help isn’t something to be feared. The ultimate focus is for LGBTI+ youth to actively seek out solutions to mental health problems, and to understand that it is their right to do so. We’re extremely proud to partner with Bank of Ireland on this project and with their generous support we’ll be able to spread this important message far and wide.”

Bank of Ireland will back the campaign with a €10,000 contribution. Andrew Keating, Inclusion and Diversity Executive Sponsor at Bank of Ireland added, “For us, it’s important that we reflect the diversity of all of our customers and colleagues. We’re delighted to support BeLonG To and the positive impact they make across the LGBTI+ community.”

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