Health Redefining Resilience #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek By LGBT HERO The LGBTQ+ community is resilient. We’ve overcome endless hurdles in recent decades, each with its own challenges for our collective wellbeing. Section 28, the fight against HIV, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, the quest for basic rights to be enshrined in law; it’s a tome of trials, but we’ve endured. The obstacles we face in 2022 are no less significant. A culture war has engulfed the lives and dignity of trans people and propelled a renewed tidal wave of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment. Our community is battling a hostile media and government policy designed to undermine our solidarity. We stand resolute, but the mental health of every queer person is once again under pressure, especially that of trans and gender diverse people. That’s why this Mental Health Awareness Week we need to rethink resilience. Our communal struggles over the years have left their scars as queer people, by necessity, have perservered without receiving care for their wellbeing. Safe spaces to talk and share, therapy and counselling, and community care are vital to prevent another generation from experiencing long-term harm. Resilience can no longer mean ‘fight harder’ or ‘just keep going’; we must think about resilience against trauma, resilience against mental injury. Our wellbeing, as well as our determination to fight, must be preserved to prevent a deepening of the mental health divide. Making this happen is a monumental challenge. There still isn’t enough specialised support for LGBTQ+ people’s mental health. Wellbeing services provided by the dedicated charities for our community are oversubscribed, and the NHS - notwithstanding its current state of crisis - has never provided anywhere near enough focused care for queer people whose rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide are far higher than the national average. The government’s commitment to our health is also in question as we embark on a continued battle to include trans people in a ban on conversion therapy. If we’re to keep ourselves happy and healthy, then the majority of that effort must come from within the queer community. That’s why at LGBT HERO we’re providing ways for people to connect, not only with one another, but with services where they can get the help they need. Our forums offer a caring space where the community can support itself and share strategies to cope. Social groups, including our upcoming Umbrella HangOuts are another crucial intervention, bringing together queer folk from across the country. We’re also continuing to create a huge amount of online information and advice so that every LGBTQ+ person has access to tailored mental health and wellbeing resources. We’re doing our best to promote resilience of wellbeing, but everyone needs to play a part. This week do something positive for yourself, or for someone you care about. It could be as simple as sharing a wellbeing resource or pointing someone toward a support group. Even small actions can make a huge difference. Let’s make 2022 a year of health and happiness for LGBTQ+ people as we continue the unwavering march toward equality for us all.