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Gays and lesbians face ‘double stigma’ over mental health

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Gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Wales face a double prejudice in terms of mental health, a survey has suggested.

The report, from Stonewall Cymru, states that mental health provision in Wales is “under-resourced and ill-equipped” to cope with LGB mental health issues.

It suggested that experiences of discrimination were more to likely have detrimental effects on mental health and well being, particularly when LGB people came out.

The research found that although more than two-thirds of respondents were out, 39 per cent of these had experience anti-gay discrimination.

Many said their doctors assumed being gay was the root of them problem and more than half said this experience was likely to prevent them from accessing treatment in future.

Anecdotes from respondents ranged from staff refusing to work with them once ‘outed’ and sensing conservative attitudes among healthcare workers.

Liz Morgan, director of Stonewall Cymru, said: “There is still much work to be done to improve the lives and inclusion of LGB people with mental health issues in Wales. We hope that our findings will lead to a greater dialogue and collaboration between LGB specialist providers and mental health services across Wales.

“In this way myths may be dispelled, with the result that services may be provided which are appropriate to the needs of LGB people with mental health issues.”

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