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Mental health support for Cambridgeshire LGBTQ+ young people

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Five different ways to support young LGBTQ+ people in Cambridgeshire with their mental health are being suggested in a new campaign.

#MyWaysToWellbeing highlights how individuals can use five different ways to keep themselves mentally well, while also stressing there is no shame and lots of good, positive reasons in accessing support across the county.

Cambridgeshire County Council is working with The Kite Trust to run the campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May) with research from the charity Just Like Us showing that LGBT+ young adults are more than twice as likely to hurt themselves deliberately than non-LGBTQ+ young adults.

Moreover, LGBTQ+ young adults were three times as likely to face a mental health condition than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts.

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Kite Trust ways to wellbeing

The five themes of the campaign are: Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Take Notice and Give. Each theme will be highlighted across social media channels with the hashtag #MyWaysToWellbeing during the week.

Dr Pip Gardner, chief executive of The Kite Trust, said: “Around one-third of teenagers in Cambridgeshire identify as LGBTQ+ and we’re grateful to be working with Cambridgeshire County Council to really highlight how we can all take action to improve the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ young people.

“We want to encourage families and the wider community to understand how they can be allies and best support the LGBTQ+ young people in their lives.”

Richard Howitt, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council adults and health committee said: “The percentage of young people who identify as LGBTQ+ and are suffering with their mental health is worryingly high, so I am pleased to see the council taking a positive approach by reaching out and offering support.

“It’s important we work together to make sure we can champion the LGBTQ+ community and make sure they know we are here to help them if they need it.”

Joe, an LGBTQ+ young person living in Cambridge, shared his Ways to Wellbeing: “I am gay and growing up I had a lot of anxieties relating to this, mainly to do with worrying about stigma and acceptance from friends and family, even though when I came out, I knew I had nothing to worry about!

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“I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Difficulties at 15 and have since also received diagnoses of anxiety and depression.

“Looking after my mental health is really important to me and I think self-care is a massive part of this.”

He explained his “#MyWaysToWellbeing :

  • Connect – My parents live far away, but I video call my mum every day to catch up, or just leave the call running as we both do chores around the house.
  • Be active – I go for long walks with my boyfriend in the evening – there are some lovely nature walks near my house!
  • Be mindful – I sometimes struggle with this one as I find it difficult to slow down and pay attention.

This year I’ve been planting flowers in my garden and find that watering these and paying attention to their growth is a great way of staying in the moment.

  • Learn new skills – I picked up crochet during lockdown and absolutely love it! Friends and family now expect a scarf or a jumper for every birthday (even if the stitches are still a little wonky!)
  • Give – I try to give money to charity when I can, but I also try and give small acts of kindness throughout my day, whether it is smiling at people on the street or holding doors open.

“Most importantly, though, I know when it comes to my mental health that I also feel comfortable reaching out for support.

“My friends and family are brilliant listening ears when I need them, but I also speak to my GP when I am struggling and need extra support.”

The Kite Trust is a charity which supports the wellbeing and creativity of LGBTQ+ young people in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and surrounding areas.

More information can be found at: https://thekitetrust.org.uk/.

You can find out more about the campaign by searching #MyWaysToWellebing on social media or visiting: #MyWaysToWellbeing – The Kite Trust.

 

 

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