|What better weekend to announce a Liberate and Guernsey Mind collaboration than the one that has both World Mental Health Day on the Saturday and National Coming Out Day on the Sunday. The charities have joined forces to launch ‘Bailiwick Rainbow MINDS’ a monthly LGBTQ+ peer led support group run for LGBTQ+ people by LGBTQ+ people.
Thankfully there is a growing acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) community in the Bailiwick in recent years. And in the Bailiwick more people are feeling comfortable and confident in identifying themselves as LGBTQ+ people.
However, people who identify as LGBTQ+ are four times more likely to attempt suicide across their lifetime than the rest of the population. And LGBTQ+ people are at more risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm then their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. Members of this community are also at greater risk of experiencing hate crimes and discrimination.
One member of the facilitator team told us that she was ‘so pleased to see that this peer support group is being set up and that I have been asked to help facilitate it. I have struggled with my own mental health for a number of years and I know how beneficial it is to have support groups like this; Having someone to talk to, who understands and can empathise with a situation provides valuable support to anyone who may be struggling. I am a lesbian and I came out when I was 23. I won’t lie, it was very much an emotional rollercoaster for me and over the years I have had numerous obstacles to overcome, including issues with my family. I have however learnt a lot about myself and I am finally confident and happy with who I am. I want to be a part of this group so that I can try to help others to do the same.’
Matt, who is also a facilitator of the group wanted to tell other LGBTQ+ people why he’s involved ‘having completed my Mental Health First Aid course with my employer back in 2018 I subsequently started helping with Man Club early in 2019. From my training and experience with Guernsey Mind I have felt such a passion to help others who may be facing tough times. I will be happy to listen and support other LGBTQ+ people. Having a group specifically to support this community has been a massive feeling of achievement that we can now support you, please come along and use it. It’s a space just for you.’
David, who also completed the course and is helping with the group said ‘I came out later in life and after years of suppressing my identity my coming out experience led to a breakdown. Man Club was a tremendous help to me but was not geared to LGBTQ+ people. Had Bailiwick Rainbow Minds been available at that time I would have gone to them for first hand understanding and awareness.’
Bailiwick Rainbow Minds’ first meeting is on Monday 19th October. The meeting will allow each member the chance to talk freely, honestly and truthfully or just listen to others. This is done in a confidential, supporting and trusting environment. A small team of trained Mental Health First Aiders will be there to help and support you and will signpost you to appropriate help and support if needed. The most important reason to come along is that this is a safe place for you to talk freely.