Health and Wellbeing

Jo, Wellbeing Practitioner, talks about LGBT+ History Month, the Stand with LGBT+ campaign, and new support options available for LGBT+ students…

Being at University can be full of high and lows, and this can be heightened if you identify as part of the LGBT+ community.

February is LGBT+ History Month, and Cardiff University and the Student’s Union will be running events to mark the month and to promote Stand with LGBT+ The campaign encourages us to stand together to break the silence around LGBT+ mental health, and raise awareness of the support available – including new support options, launching on Monday 18 February.

What does LGBT+ mean?

‘LGBT+’ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and other identities.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual  – A person who is sexually attracted to people of their own gender (lesbian/gay) or more than one gender (bisexual).

Trans – An umbrella term commonly used to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth.

Other identities (+) – The LGBT+ community is diverse; the plus (+) is used to recognise that many people – who may or may not identify as LGBT – do not fit into traditional categories of gender or sexuality.
Some terms used to describe gender identity which might fall under the “+” include: ‘non-binary’ – an umbrella term for a person who does not identify as only male or only female, or who may identify as both or neither; ‘gender fluid’ – a term used to describe people who don’t identify with a fixed gender; ‘pansexual’ – referring to a person whose emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction towards others is not limited by biological sex, gender or gender identity; and ‘asexual’ – a term used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction or who experience very little sexual attraction.

What issues might LGBT+ people face?

Whilst identifying as LGBT+ does not in and of itself cause mental health problems, there are many potential difficulties which people who are LGBT+ may have to face, and research from Stonewall – Britain’s leading charity for LGBT+ equality – shows that the LGBT+ community is disproportionally affected by mental health problems.

LGBT+ people are one and a half times more likely to develop depression and anxiety compared to the rest of the population and are at significantly greater risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm.

Research also highlights additional inequalities affecting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) LGBT+ people and LGBT+ people living with disabilities.

Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain: Home and Communities research report highlights alarming levels of racism experienced by BAME LGBT+ people, and a significant proportion of trans people, bi people, LGBT+ disabled people and LGBT people of faith feeling excluded within the LGBT community.

Why are LGBT+ more likely to struggle with mental health?

The potential reasons why mental health issues are more common amongst the LGBT+ community are complex. Factors such as:

  • homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying
  • rejection from family
  • harassment and discrimination in education or at work
  • poor responses from healthcare professions

These are still commonplace for many LGBT+ people.

For people who come out as LGBT+ and experience rejection, they may understandably – not want to, or feel unable to, come out again. They may feel they have to hide their real self, which can be highly detrimental to mental wellbeing and cause severe stress.

The negative impacts of experiences of discrimination and marginalisation, both direct and indirect, on LGBT+ individuals and groups are also well established.

Being LGBT+ at University

Research from Student Minds (2018) indicates that LGBT+ students experience greater risk of mental health vulnerability, and a range of barriers to seeking support during their studies.

79% of LGBT+ UK University students who participated in the research stated feeling that there is a need for additional mental health support specifically for LGBT+ students.

New support for LGBT+ students at Cardiff University

This LGBT+ History month, the Student Support and Wellbeing Service, in collaboration with the Student’s Union, CU Pride & LGBT+ Association, and an LGBT+ student focus group will be introducing a number of new support options, which will aim to address the experiences and meet the needs of the LGBT+ student community in Cardiff, and to break down barriers to accessing support.

Come along to our event on Monday 18 February, 17:00 – 19:00, VJ Gallery, Main Building. Please register here.

LGBT+ Events

Stand with LGBT+ Events
Led by Hannah Ryan (LGBT+ Women’s Officer) there will be a range of awareness-raising events and activities happening on campus from Monday 11th – Friday 15 February, including an Xpress Radio takeover, a Panel discussion and events at both Cathays and Heath Park!

First launched in 2018 by LGBT+ officers Josh Lewis and Taz Jones, this will be the second year the Campaign will run. ‘Stand with LGBT+’ wristbands and badges will be available for people to wear to demonstrate support for the Campaign, and the week will culminate in a Celebration event on Friday 15 February in the Student’s Union, to celebrate the diversity of Cardiff in style.

Check out the LGBT+ Officers’ social media to see live updates throughout the week, and visit the Stand with LGBT+ webpage to see their timetable of events and activities, including the locations where they will be present throughout the week.

Other LGBT+ History Month Events

Rainbow Bridge Workshop:
Supporting Victims of LGBT+ Domestic Abuse 
Tuesday 12 February
Thursday 14 February
Rainbow Bridge is an LGBT+ specific domestic abuse service and this workshop aims to highlight and acknowledge the positive steps which the LGBT+ community has reached. It will also explore the current barriers and how this can impact victims of domestic abuse in the LGBT+ community, including how Rainbow Bridge can support and what individuals can do to be more inclusive.

Wellbeing Champion Hotspots
Champions are student volunteers who offer peer support to fellow students, they will be out and about on campus during LGBT+ History month. Don’t hesitate to stop by for a chat with a Champion, to pick up a leaflet, or to seek advice and support about anything on your mind:
13 February, 12:00 – 13:30, John Pervical Café
20 February, 11:00 – 12:30, Hadyn Ellis Exhibition Space
No need to book – just stop by on the day!

Hannah Graf coming to Cardiff!
Enfys, the Staff and Postgraduate Students LGBT+ Network, have organised for Hannah Graf to come and speak at Cardiff Uni about her role as an openly Trans woman, her journey and the decisions she has made. Hannah was the highest ranking openly Trans British soldier, and is also an Honorary Fellow at Cardiff University. Hannah may also be joined by her husband, Jake Graf, who is a writer, actor, director and trans activist, recently starring in the film ‘Colette’. Check out the Events Page on the Student Intranet for more information and to book your place at the event!

Alexander the Great Talk
The School of History, Archaeology and Religion are holding a public lecture on Wednesday 20 February from 17:10 in the Large Shandon Lecture Theatre in Main Building on Park Place. The lecture is called ‘Alexander the Great – Boy Friend, Gay Warrior and Porn King’. No need to book – just come along on the day!

Glitter Talks joint event with Glitter Cymru
Glitter Cymru is a local community BAME LGBT+ Group, and on Wednesday 27 February there will be a joint event called Glitter Talks: Sex, Sexy and Sexuality – The BAME LGBT+ Perspective, 18:00 – 20:00, in the Wallace Lecture Theatre, 0.13, Main Building. No need to book – just come along on the day!

Where can I get help?

The University’s Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service
If you are experiencing any kind of emotional distress, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We can offer support to anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty, however big or small, be it related to being LGBT+, or something else entirely.

The team offers bookable appointments via an online self-referral form, as well as a daily Drop-In Service called ‘Wellbeing Drop-In’, between 15:00-15:45, Monday–Friday and on Wednesday mornings between 09:30-10:15 at the Student Support Centre, 50 Park Place. All staff will listen, without judgement, and offer support in a safe, confidential space.

LGBT+ Officers
Chat to your LGBT+ Officers by attending a drop-in, connecting with them on social media, or contacting the officers:
Email Hannah: LGBTWomensOfficer@cardiff.ac.uk

CU Pride Society
CU Pride is a LGBT+ society that provides social events and a safe space to talk about any issues. Find them on Facebook, Twitter or
Email: LGBT@cardiff.ac.uk

LGBT+ Association
Representing LGBT+ issues as well as campaigning for change on campus and running various events, the LGBT+ association is available for whatever you might need them for. Find them on Facebook, Twitter or Email: LGBTAssociation@cardiff.ac.uk

Wellbeing Champions
If talking to a member of staff is something you are not sure about, why not chat to one of our Student Wellbeing Champions. They are trained student volunteers who can signpost you to support, offer you a ‘peer ear’ and give you basic health and wellbeing advice.

Student Advice
Based on the 3rd floor of the Students’ Union, the Student Advice team can guide you on a variety of different issues, ranging from mental health to housing and money worries. They run drop-ins 12:00-14:00 every weekday, or 12:00-14:00 Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Heath Park Campus, and you are also able to book longer appointments.

Umbrella Cymru
Umbrella provide support for anyone who identifies as LGBT+ or is questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity.
Email: support@umbrellacymru.co.uk or info@umbrellacymru.co.uk.

Student Minds
They run a peer-support service for students with eating difficulties every Thursday in room 4H on the 4th floor of the Students’ Union from 18:15-19:00.

Stonewall Cymru
Stonewall is the UK’s largest LGBT+ charity and offers advice on anything related to LGBT+.

Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge is a Victim Support run service that specifically supports victims of domestic abuse who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The team provides emotional support, practical advice and advocacy tailored to each individual accessing their service. Their goal is to support and empower victims of domestic abuse within the LGBT+ community.
Appointments from the Rainbow Bridge Team are available monthly, at the Student Support Centre, on the last Tuesday evening of every month. Their appointments can be accessed either face-to-face or via telephone.
Tel: 0300 3031 982 Email: RainbowBridge@victimsupport.org.uk

Out and Proud
Out and Proud is a chance to meet other young LGBT+ people aged 13-21. It offers peer support for anyone who is LGBT+.

The LGBT Foundation
The LGBT Foundation work to support LGBT+ people including help with healthcare. Tel: 03453303030.

National Hate Crime Support
Victim Support run the National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre which provides free and confidential emotional and practical support to victims of Hate Crime. This covers anyone who feels like they have been targeted because of their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. They are a third-party reporting centre, so you can report hate crimes to them and have the right to remain anonymous. You do not have to report the incident to the police to receive support from the team and the team can report these incidents to the police on your behalf if needed. Appointments with the National Hate Crime Support Team are available on the last Tuesday evening of every month, at the Student Support Centre.
Search ‘Hate Crime’ on the student intranet.
Tel: 0300 3031 982 Email: CrimeWales@victimsupport.org.uk

Disclosure Response Team
You can access a range of support options from the university’s Disclosure Response Team if you are affected by any form of violence and abuse, including sexual assault, rape, harassment, hate crime, relationship abuse, stalking and any other form of unacceptable behaviour.
Search ‘violence and abuse’ on the student intranet.
Tel: 029 2087 4844 Out of hours: 0808 8010 800 (Live Fear Free Helpline)
Email: disclosureresponseteam@cardiff.ac.uk

Nightline
Offering a confidential listening ear from 20:00-08:00 (term-time only).
Tel: 02920 870 555 or chat on their instant messaging service.

Enfys
The LGBT+ network for all staff and postgraduates at Cardiff University. Enfys aims to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues, to represent the views of LGBT+ staff and postgraduate students, to provide a gateway of confidential support and assistance to LGBT+ staff, to work with the LGBT+ student officers, association and society to ensure a positive environment for the LGBT+ community to work and study at Cardiff University and to provide support to enable the University community to report homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and harassment.

Lets work together

Working together there is potential to support better mental health and wellbeing and improve the lives of all LGBT+ people of all ages.

Please Stand with LGBT+ this LGBT+ History month, and beyond.

Best wishes

Jo, Wellbeing Practitioner.

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & MoneyCareers & EmployabilityCounselling, Health & WellbeingDisability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.

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