More approachable care for LGBT patients

Innovative NHS trusts are improving the services they provide to their lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans patients. Erin Dean reports

Innovative NHS trusts are improving the services they provide to their lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans patients. Erin Dean reports.

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people often have greater health needs than the general population, but can find mainstream services difficult to access. Some NHS trusts are tailoring services to meet their needs and encouraging staff to be open and inclusive.

Young gay people are known to be at higher risk of mental health problems than the general population, but may not feel accepted or understood in traditional services.

At Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, a specially designed support service for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people is delivered in informal and non-clinical settings.

Community mental health nurse Phil Stevens, a member of the service’s outreach team, has worked as a teen-to-adult personal adviser for the past four years. Based in a Brighton youth centre, he has a caseload of about 15 young people at a time.

‘We have a more flexible approach to mental health services for young people compared with mainstream services,’ Mr Stevens says. ‘We are not based in a clinical setting and instead meet up with young people virtually anywhere. We do a lot of work in schools and often meet in public areas.’

Patients come to him with issues including family conflict over their sexuality and concerns about being sexually exploited.

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This article was first published in print under the original title 'More approachable care' in Nursing Standard: volume 28, issue 23

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