Luciana Berger: Homophobia and prejudice can cause mental health issues

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health Luciana Berger writes for PinkNews on World Mental Health Day, about the challenges the LGBTQ community faces.

I welcome World Mental Health Day and look forward to a future where there is real, unquestioned equality between mental health and physical health.

The Conservative government has promised parity of esteem yet delivered deeper cuts to mental health services while the people who rely on them are denied access.

I am delighted to have been appointed the first-ever Shadow Minister for Mental Health.

There is no direct counterpart in the government and its creation sends a clear message that Labour is committed to giving mental health the specific focus it deserves.

We must recognise that some groups are more likely to experience mental ill health.

Members of the LGBTQ community are disproportionately affected by mental health problems, which may be related to stigma, prejudice and discrimination.

The LGBTQ community also has a higher incidence of reporting negative experiences when accessing primary care services. I call on the government to do more to ensure that our NHS is an LGBTQ-friendly environment.

We must make certain that people not only have the confidence to access services and speak to specialists about their health, but that they then receive the good quality care they need and deserve.

Luciana Berger is the MP for Liverpool Wavertree and Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health