Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people: people with mental health needs: Alison's story

What is the video about?

In this video we meet Alison, a lesbian with physical disabilities and mental health needs, who at an early age, was put into care. At 18 Alison married but the relationship turned violent and in 1994 she left the marriage. It was at this time that Alison met her first true love and decided to come out as a lesbian and live her life her ‘own’ way. The reactions of family members, especially her daughter, prevented her from seeing her grandchildren and left her feeling isolated and rejected.

In 1998 Alison suffered a back injury which left her disabled and in constant pain, which led to a mental breakdown and her referral to the local mental health team with severe depression. The social worker provided Alison with the support and understanding she needed. Her experiences of paid carers were less favourable. In the film we learn that training is key to enable good service provision and for social workers to feel confident in providing support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Messages for practice

  1. Many LGBT people have experienced discrimination and stigma in their lifetime.
  2. LGBT people are more likely to have mental health problems compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
  3. LGBT people can experience ‘double discrimination’ when accessing or receiving support due to the beliefs of those providing services.
  4. Training around sexuality needs to support social workers and carers to understand the impact of discrimination with relation to an individual’s sexual orientation.

Who will find this useful?

Commissioners; directors of adult social services; social workers; social care workers; service users, their carers and families; social care and social work students; the general public.