That’s the message from MindOut Dorset Mind’s support group that helps people who identify as LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Trans, and all gender and sexual minorities) and experience mental health issues.
Dorset Mind supports adults that want to improve their mental health through two MindOut LGBT+ groups – in Weymouth and Bournemouth. The Weymouth group has just announced their sessions are now weekly and they have a new group facilitator to enable this.
They are encouraging new members to come along and find ‘safe, friendly, and confidential’ support.
What do MindOut service users say about the group?
Elliott Price is 37 and is from Weymouth. He came out at 22 and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 30. He also suffers with a blood pressure issue, depression, and anxiety. Elliott said he didn’t know what to think when he first attended the group but that changed when he was told he could ‘open up’ because ‘everyone was LGBT.’ He said, “That’s the nudge I needed. We are all the same here, that made it easier. I felt safe, I could finally open up about things that were troubling me.”
To others struggling with similar issues, he urges them to go along, adding, “You need to do it. It covers a lot of underlying issues and that’s what I have learnt from the MindOut group. You can open up and tell them anything. It’s all done in confidence and you will feel a lot better for it.”
Dyllan Mills, 31, is a volunteer at the Weymouth MindOut group. He identified as Transgender a few years ago, and is currently on his journey to become his true self.
Dyllan, who also has bipolar disorder and autoimmune condition granulomatosis with polyangiitis, urged other people to join the group. He added: “Everyone’s really welcoming. It’s helped me because I have more than one issue to be dealing with. I learn something new each time I go, different ways of coping with things and get huge satisfaction from helping group members.”
“It gives you a sense of community.”
The link between the LGBT community and mental health problems
Dorset Mind’s Patron, Dr Andy Mayers, commented, “The fact that there are no waiting times for either of our LGBT+ support groups is crucial. We know that the LGBT+ community experience ‘double stigma.’
“Not only do they suffer hugely upon coming to terms with their sexuality, this group is at high-risk for experiencing mental health problems too. The risk of a mental health condition, like depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is almost three times as high for youth and adults who identify LGBT+.”
“That’s why our LGBT+ support groups are so important – they make a dramatic difference to people that are experiencing a crisis. They are literally a life-line.”
How can I access the new weekly group?
Mandy Nicholson, Dorset Mind’s Service Delivery Manager said the group atmosphere is “welcoming, open, and supportive.”
She added: “It changes people’s lives.”
The MindOut Weymouth weekly group now meets every Friday from 2-4pm at the Weymouth Adult Learning Centre. Best of all, there’s no waiting as referrals are not required.
Those wanting to attend but are nervous can contact our friendly group facilitator Michelle beforehand on 07766-281434. She will arrange to meet with you just before the session to make the whole process easier.