8 February 2023

As part of LGBT+ History Month, CNWL’s Pride@CNWL Staff Network hosted the latest Year of the Child event: working with and supporting LGBTQ+ young people.

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Sofia Venuti and Louise Phillips facilitated the session, discussing the adversities and vulnerability factors faced by LGBTQ+ young people as well as the impacts this can have on their physical and mental health.

Louise, Gospel Oak Therapy Lead and Allies Co-Lead for the Pride@CNWL Network said:

“Up to 42 per cent of homeless youth are LGBTQ+ identified, and they are more likely to become homeless than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. International research also shows consistently higher rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use, self-harm, and suicide in the LGBT+ population.”

Sofia, Occupational Therapist and Co-Chair of the Pride@CNWL Network spoke about the considerations for those staff working with LGBTQ+ young people, such as School Nurses, Psychologists or Mental Health Support Teams: 

“You should consider the practical things such as clothes, toilets, changing rooms and how you can support them to feel comfortable. It’s important to use appropriate language, and you should ask them what language they use to describe themselves, and use these terms in your policies and procedures," she said. 

“Make it clear that you’re someone they can talk to about their identity and feel safe with. Be open minded and don’t make assumptions about a child’s sexuality or gender identity. Always consider how gender identity or sexuality could impact on their life and any risks they might face.

“Childline is available, and young people can contact them for confidential advice and support. Calls to 0800 1111 are free and they can also get support and advice on the Childline website.”

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