Support services available for LGBTQ+ community

escc logoSPECIALIST services offering advice and support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual community (LGBTQ+) are available across East Sussex.

Funding has been awarded to the council’s Joint Mental Health Commissioning Team from the Sussex Health and Care Partnership to fund three advice services offering support and information to those identifying as LGBTQ+ or exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The services, which are to specifically tackle health inequalities, will operate countywide.

According to figures from the 2021 Census, over 15,000 residents aged 16 years and over identified with an LGB+ sexual orientation in East Sussex, and 1,640 residents aged 16 years and over indicated that their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth.

Two services, Switchboard and Mindout, are available to support LGBTQ+ adults locally.

Data from the council’s LGBTQ+ Comprehensive Needs Assessment in 2021 shows that LGBTQ+ adults are more likely to feel isolated and experience poor mental health than non-LGBTQ+ people, and tend to experience high levels of discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Switchboard supports LGBTQ+ people directly through specially developed Switchboard services as well as linking them to other specialist organisations.

Specialist support is available to older people including those aged 50 plus, domestic abuse victims and survivors, and trans and non-binary people.

The service also offers dementia support and runs Grief Encounters, a peer support group for those who have experienced a bereavement.

MindOut is a mental health service run by and for LGBTQ people with lived mental health experience. Our services includes online and in person peer support group work, a low-cost counselling service, mental health advocacy, telephone befriending, peer mentoring, suicide prevention initiatives, trans and nonbinary specific support, and an anonymous daily online support service.

All MindOut services are confidential, person centred and non-judgemental.  Apart from counselling, all other support at MindOut is free. MindOut strive to make LGBTQ mental health a community concern, to raise awareness, and to reduce mental health stigma.

Support is also available to young people and their families through The Allsorts Youth Project.

LGBTQ+ young people who responded to the LGBTQ+ Comprehensive Needs Assessment survey experienced more incidents of bullying at school than non-LGBTQ+ pupils and were more likely to feel unsafe in and around school.  LGBTQ+ young people also reported having poorer mental wellbeing than non-LGBTQ+ people.

Allsorts offers support for young people under 26 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity through youth groups and one to one and family support sessions.

Mark Stainton, Director of Adult Social Care and Health at East Sussex County Council, said: “As we celebrate Pride Month it is important we recognise that whilst progress has been made regarding the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, the community still face discrimination and significant inequalities.

“These services provide vital advice and information and help support those who may be feeling isolated and alone, and I encourage anyone from the LGBTQ+ community who needs support, or just someone to talk to, to get in touch.”

Information about the specialist services including contact information is available on the council’s website at