As an out and proud LGBTQ+ person with their own lived experience of mental health, I know that it can be difficult fearing that people won't understand the problems facing you, especially as a result of your sexuality or gender identity.

That's why at Mental Health Matters we believe it's crucial that the lived experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community are reflected in the support we offer - but also in our workforce. As part of our diversity and inclusion drive, we established an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group which has been leading on efforts to make the organisation as inclusive as it possibly can be to support our service users as well as ensuring people like me can be my authentic self, in-and-out of the office.

However, we acknowledge that mental health remains a difficult conversation for many in the LGBTQIA+ community. The 'National LGBT Survey' conducted by the government showed that 24% of LGBTQIA+ people had accessed mental health services in the last 12 months, while a further 8% had tried to access support but had not been successful.

Despite this, as a charity, we are embedded in the communities we serve and are working hard to show that we know that LGBTQIA+ people are a significant part of those communities.

That's why we hope to see at your local prides, to show you that we are here for you as well as celebrating the contribution the community makes. Our colleagues have been active in Pride marches up-and-down the country supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, and we will be here to listen to you without the everyday prejudices that our community face.

Pride, is above all else, a protest. A protest to make our community visible, to demand rights and ensure the doors that have been shut to the community are opened. Mental Health Matters celebrate Pride not just for these thirty days every June, but 365 days a year. Our door is one that will always be open to you.

Happy Pride Month!

Charlie Campion, External Affairs & Policy Manager | Mental Health Matters