Three months from the start of lockdown, it’s safe to say stuff’s still quite weird. While restrictions are gradually lifting, the new normal has little resemblance to what we’re used to. Alongside two-metre distancing and queuing for EVERYTHING, many events around the UK have been cancelled. And Pride is on the list – with organisers taking the difficult decision to postpone events that were due to take place throughout the month of June.
It’s no surprise that Pride gives a platform to LGBTQ+ people to be seen in all their rainbow-coloured glory. People dress up in show-stopping attire, the energy in the air and the atmosphere is breathtaking. But more importantly, the events and parades provide a safe space for the community to come together in protest, unity, and solidarity. The parties are always fun – but Pride means so much more.
Here at CALM we believe everyone should be able to ask for the support they need, no matter who they are, where they’re from and whatever their background. LGBTQ+ communities are more likely to suffer with their mental wellbeing and to consider taking their own lives, and that’s not ok.
That’s why we attend Pride and work alongside prominent LGBTQ+ ambassadors and organisations to ensure as many people as possible are aware of CALM’s life-saving helpline and webchat. The sobering truth is that LGBTQ+ young people are almost twice as likely to take their own lives, while 52% of LGBT people have suffered from depression.
Last year, CALM attended Pride events in York, Doncaster and Edinburgh with partners LNER, and had even more planned for 2020. We want to make sure that everyone is able to access the help they need when they need it, and by having a presence at Pride events up and down the country we send a clear message: We’re here, we’re allies, and our services are there for you, no matter what.
Although we can’t be at Pride in person this year, we’re still here, as always, to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community. Lockdown has posed its own unique pressures on LGBTQ+ people, meaning CALM’s services are needed more than ever. Our free, confidential and anonymous helpline is there for anyone who needs it from 5pm until midnight everyday.
We’ve created the CALM Pride Hub, with interviews and content from CALM ambassadors including Suzi Ruffell, because recognising and speaking about the realities faced by LGBTQ+ people is imperative to improving the mental health space. After all, everyone has the right to the help they need no matter their gender or sexuality.
And if you’re struggling, Suzi has some advice: “Hold on and remember that this isn’t forever. This is just a very strange diversion in the road. If you are a person that is living in a scenario where you don’t feel you can be yourself, or if things get so bad you can’t cope, reach out. There’s CALM, and then there’s the work that charities like AKT formerly known as the Albert Kennedy Trust do. There’s ways around it, so if you do feel like you can’t be where you are, try talking out to them.”
Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s helpline and webchat are open daily 5pm-midnight. Find support here.
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