However you identify, we're here for you. Always.
Some of us identify as LGBTQIA+. This means we may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, or asexual. Or we may define our gender and sexuality in other ways. Stonewall's glossary lists many more terms.
About LGBTQIA+ mental health
Anyone can experience a mental health problem. But those of us who identify as LGBTQIA+ are more likely to develop problems like:
- Low self-esteem
- Social anxiety, including anxiety
- Eating problems
- Misusing drugs and alcohol
- Suicidal feelings
- Other mental health problems
Being LGBTQIA+ does not cause these problems. The reasons why those of us with LGBTQIA+ identities are more likely to get them are very complicated. But it is most likely to do with facing things like:
- Stigma and discrimination
- Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
- Social isolation, exclusion and rejection
- Difficult experiences of coming out
It's important to remember that embracing your LGBTQIA+ identity can also have a positive impact on your wellbeing. It might mean you have:
- Increased confidence
- Improved relationships with your friends and family
- A sense of community and belonging
- The freedom of self-expression and self-acceptance
- Increased resilience.
Support for LGBTQIA+ mental health
Norfolk and Waveney Mind is here for anyone experiencing a mental health problem. But we know that those of us with LGBTQIA+ identities may face extra challenges around getting the right support.
The tips on this page may help. Remember that different things work for different people at different times. Only try what you feel comfortable with, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
- Talk to someone you trust: It might feel hard to start talking about how you are feeling. But many people find that sharing their experiences can help them feel better. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself. If you aren't able to open up to someone close to you, there are several LGBTQIA+ helplines you can call visit our contacts section to view some options.
- Peer Support: Making connections with people who have similar or shared experiences can be really helpful. This could be other people with mental health problems, or other LGBTQIA+ people, or both. There are many ways to do this including, local support groups, online communities, workplace groups or mentoring programmes. Visit our useful contacts section for local and online groups.
- Self-care: Self-care means things we do for ourselves to help improve our mental and physical health. Internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia might mean you struggle to be kind to yourself. But practising self-care can help boost your self-esteem. This can include thinking about your diet and sleep, trying to do some physical activity, trying to avoid recreational drugs and alcohol and looking after your sexual health.
- Asking your doctor for help: Your doctor is there to help you with your mental health as well as your physical health. Opening up to a doctor about your personal thoughts and feelings isn't easy for anyone. Being LGBTQIA+ can make it feel even harder. There are lots of reasons to not want to come out as LGBTQIA+ to your doctor when you talk to them about your mental health. You don't have to tell your doctor that you're LGBTQIA+ to get their help. But if you do, they might find it easier to get you the right support. If you do decide to tell them, you could rehearse what you will say first with someone you trust. An LGBTQIA+ helpline could also help you practise this conversation.
- Specialist LGBTQIA+ mental health services: Specialist organisations exist that provide mental health support to LGBTQIA+ people. Services they may provide include; advocacy, helpline and email advice or talking therapies and counselling. Many of these services employ staff or recruit volunteers that identify as LGBTQIA+. Visit the contacts section of this page for a list of national and local services.
- Working with a therapist: Talking therapies involve talking to a trained professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Your relationship with your therapist is an important factor in how successful any therapy is for you. If you would prefer to work with a therapist from the LGBTQIA+ community, it's best to mention it during your first contact with the service. Unfortunately, not all services will be able to match you with an LGBTQIA+ therapist. But even if your therapist does not identify as LGBTQIA+ themselves, they may still have experience of helping people with similar problems to you.
Supporting someone who is LGBTQIA+
A good support network helps all of us have higher self-esteem and better mental health. This is especially true for LGBTQIA+ people, who may be facing extra challenges.
This section gives some suggestions on how you can be supportive.
- Don't make assumptions: Everyone's experience is different. Try to avoid making assumptions based on what you already know about mental health problems or LGBTQIA+ issues. Instead, ask the person what is going on for them.
- Listen to their experiences: Growing up with a different sexual or gender identity means it's likely they have faced negativity. They may feel worried to open up and speak about their experiences. Giving them space to talk is important. If they don't feel ready to speak to you, you could suggest they call a helpline (see our contacts section for national and local services).
- Show them you care: Internalised homophobia, biphobia and transphobia means many LGBTQIA+ people struggle with low self-esteem. It may seem obvious to you that you care about them, but they may not realise this. Try to find ways to show them you care. For example, write them a card, cook them a meal, or take them out somewhere they'd enjoy.
- Support them to seek help: You could reassure your loved one that it's OK to ask for help, and that there is help out there. Even if it's not always easy to find. If they would feel more comfortable using an LGBTQIA+ service, you could help them research one.
- Join a support group: A range of groups exist to support parents and friends of LGBTQIA+ people. Take a look at our useful contacts section to view local support groups and services.
- Learn more about their specific problem: If you are supporting a friend or family member with a specific mental health diagnosis like depression or anxiety you can look up more information about it on our website.
- Take care of yourself: Looking after someone who is struggling can be stressful. Remember that your mental health is important too.
Useful Services, Groups and Contacts
It's important to remember that you deserve support and respect, whatever your identity or background. In this section below you can find out about local and national groups and organisations where you can find friendship, information and support.
Click the buttons below to find out more.
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline
Provides an information, support and referral service for LGBT people – and anyone considering issues around their sexuality and/or gender identity.
Tel: 0800 0119 100 (Open 10:00-22:00 every day)
Mermaids provides a helpline, webchat and 24/7 text chat aimed at supporting transgender youth, their families and professionals working with them.
Tel: 0808 801 0400 (Monday – Friday; 9am – 9pm)
Text chat number: 85258
Mindline Trans+ Helpline
A national helpline, you can call from anywhere in the UK. A safe place to talk about your feelings confidentially. Volunteers with lived experience of Trans+ or allies.
Tel: 0300 330 5468 (currently only available Fridays, 8pm – 11pm)
Mind Out Online Support
A national LGBTQ Mental Health Service based in Brighton. The online instant message service is confidential, non-judgemental and anonymous, open most evenings from 5:30- 7:30pm, and on Sundays from 2-4pm.
National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline
Helpline offers emotional support and information, as well as help you explore options regarding your personal situation.
Webchat is available Wednesday and Thursday 5pm-8pm.
Tel: 0800 999 5428 (Monday – Thursday, 10am – 8:30pm, Friday 10am – 4:30pm)
Gendered Intelligence works to increase understanding of gender diversity through working with professional bodies, communities and the general public. They also operate a support line for people who have been personally impacted by the NHS gender care waiting list.
Tel: 0330 3559678 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 2pm – 7pm, Wednesday and Friday 10am – 3pm)
Local Health and Wellbeing Services
Terrence Higgins Trust
UK's leading HIV and sexual health charity, supporting people living with HIV, amplifying their voices, and helping the people using their services to achieve good sexual health. Local services include STI testing, sexual health information, free condoms (through Norfolk C-Card scheme) and training courses.
Telephone: 01603 226666
A self-help and support group for trans people and their partners, family and friends. Barbara Ross OBE founded the Oasis group to provide a unique quality of advice and support for trans people in Norfolk. They do events throughout the year, including trips out and fashion nights.
National Gender Support Services
Trans and non-binary Holistic Wellbeing and Sexual Health Services. Available on Tuesdays between 4pm to 7pm at King’s College Hospital, closest station Denmark Hill, London. Also provides counselling and wellbeing services at our centre near St Pancras station.
GIRES stands for Gender Identity Research & Education Society, a UK wide organisation whose purpose is to improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people of all ages, including those who are non-binary and non-gender. Also delivers training, e-learning and information to public and private sector organisations.
Local Social Groups
The North Norfolk LGBTQ+ Community
‘The North Norfolk LGBTQ+ Community FB page’ is set up to bring together people who have a focus for the area - including both Cromer and Sheringham and further afield.
Norwich Mature Gay Community
A group of mature gay men, their friends and admirers who have regular informal social gatherings at Lollards Pit pub in Norwich and organise a diverse range of well attended other activities, including walks, quiz nights, and meals.
The only LGBT group for adults in Thetford aged 18+. All welcome to join, including straight friends. Shares information, organises events.
Local Sport and Exercise
Gay Outdoors Club - Norfolk
The Gay Outdoor Club organises events nationally through a network of groups offering a wide range of different activities.
Garden with Pride
Gardening Group for LGBT+ people and allies. Share your skills, tips, tricks and pics.
Norfolk Roller Derby
LGBTQ+ inclusive Roller Derby league who regularly support/attend Norwich Pride.
Official LGBT+ supporters group for Norwich City Football Club. They meet up before matches at Lollards Pit, as well as organise campaigns and events. They also have their own football team - Proud Canaries FC.
Local Arts and History
Norfolk LGBT History Society
February is LGBT History Month. This group is a space to share events, ideas, articles, and find out all the latest local and international news on LGBT+ issues.
Sew Gay Norwich
A bunch of creative people who love to sew, knit, glue, stitch. While they have many members of the LGBT+ community as part of the group, they do welcome people outside of the community as well.
Queer Art Club
Space to celebrate all things queer and arty in Norfolk, where artists can share news and talents and create a vibrant arts culture for the Norwich Pride celebrations.
Sing with Pride
Choir from the LGBT+ community for everyone. Meets weekly on Thursdays at the The Hamlet Children’s centre in Norwich. Welcomes people of all abilities. “If you love singing in the shower, you will love singing with us”.
Local Youth and Families
Monthly group sessions for 11-16 year olds and a separate group for 16-25 year olds who are transgender, intersex, genderqueer and gender-questioning young people. A safe space for young people to meet, hang out and discuss trans issues.
Lots of local schools now have LGBTQ+ Clubs. You can find out more from the Norfolk LGBT Project (email: email@example.com) and Norwich Pride (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). UEA Pride is a student peer support group providing welfare support and social opportunities (www.uea.su/opportunities/society/Pride).