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The Fife-based charity for LGBT+ people, Pink Saltire, are encouraging folk in the Kingdom to reach out if they are struggling with their mental health during the ongoing lockdown restrictions.

The charity have now extended their mental health service to support LGBT+ people in Fife, thanks to funding from Comic Relief’s LGBT+ COVID-19 Recovery Fund, in partnership with METRO Charity and the Equality Network.

Research conducted by Pink Saltire in 2020 with more than 1,000 LGBT+ adults in Scotland identified that 63% would score their mental health as either ‘Poor’ or ‘very Poor’ at worst during the first lockdown. The results were worse among young people (74%) and the transgender community (76%).

Two-thirds of all LGBT+ people (66%) have faced loneliness and isolation during the pandemic, with significantly higher rates among queer and trans respondents.

Half of all research participants said they wanted extra support to improve their mental health urgently.

Dom Miller-Graham

Wellbeing Coordinator at Pink Saltire, Dom Miller-Graham, said:

“Our community is all too familiar with isolation and loneliness, especially here in Fife where very few services exist. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of maintaining our mental wellbeing. It’s clear that we were in a mental health crisis as a community long before we considered the impact of lockdown, but often mental health was something people shrugged off until it impacted their day-to-day life – now we can’t take that risk.”

Dom is encouraging LGBT+ Fifers to register for a free mental health MOT with qualified professionals, providing additional capacity to support a health system already under strain.

Stuart Duffy, Founder of the charity said:

“We’re so grateful to METRO and Equality Network, plus all our amazing funders who’ve helped us provide services since this awful pandemic hit 10 months ago. We’ve now raised more than £200,000 since March and provided as much support as we can to folk facing hardship – from laptops to food vouchers, care packs to mobile top-ups.”

“While there’s lots of positive news as the vaccine roll-out gets going, our research indicates the impact of COVID are likely to last many months to come. We really want to make sure people know we’re here for them.”

According to the Equality Network, more than £64,000 has now been invested in LGBT+ groups in Scotland from the Comic Relief fund.

Dom continued, “So many people have worked incredibly hard to maintain their mental health and are now struggling. People who were managing fine are now finding it hard to cope and that’s ok. To echo the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, don’t wait on something minor to become a worry – get in touch today.”

You can register for the new Pink Saltire Counselling for Fife service here.

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