New research by Switchboard highlights inequalities exacerbated by Covid-19 for LGBTQ communities in Brighton & Hove

Switchboard’s Health and Inclusion Project (HIP) have released a report on the impact of Covid-19 on LGBTQ people in Brighton and Hove. The report shows that Covid-19 has exacerbated existing health inequalities across issues such as mental health, trans health and housing, as well as the lack of LGBTQ affirming support. Through our research we found the most marginalised of LGBTQ people have struggled the most. This includes young people, people of colour and trans and/or non-binary people.

Switchboard was commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to explore the impact of the pandemic on LGBTQ communities in order to inform and influence priorities in the ‘recovery period’.

The results are taken from a survey with 595 responses covering areas such as mental health, housing, sexual health and uptake of vaccinations. This was followed by focus groups exploring issues more in-depth. From this we found:

  • 74% of respondents felt depressed, with 68% of 18-24 year olds and 41% of people of colour considering suicide
  • 60% of those under 24 and 40% of trans and/or non-binary people were living in an unsafe living situation
  • 68% of LGBTQ people felt lonely or isolated

In spite of these uncomfortable findings, the survey highlighted the resilience of LGBTQ communities and the care and concern for others in LGBTQ communities.

  • 35% paid closer attention to their mental health
  • 34% spent more quality time with their household

Respondents called for:

  • Increased access to timely LGBTQ affirmative mental health support
  • Access to safe housing for those in insecure living situations experiencing homo/bi/transphobia and domestic abuse.
  • Access to improved healthcare for trans and/or non-binary people
  • Support and creativity around LGBTQ specific social spaces recognising their protective factor in people’s health and wellbeing
  • Access to LGBTQ affirmative support around grief, relationships, ageing and disability

Jacob Bayliss, Switchboard’s Chief Executive Officer says:

“Brighton & Hove has one of the largest LGBTQ populations in Europe. For many of those who live and work here this is a point of pride. As a city we often lead the way when it comes to improving outcomes for these communities – despite this we still find stark inequalities that need urgent attention. Amongst all of the challenges, we came away from our consultation feeling inspired by the overwhelming evidence that our community is kind, resilient and brimming with creative solutions to difficult problems. We have a once in a lifetime chance to emerge stronger from the pandemic. As we start to shape our city for the future, this report gives us a way to advocate for LGBTQ people in that future.”

Following the publication of the report, we will be holding a series of public events aimed at sharing the findings and working in partnership with LGBTQ people, local authority and NHS services to address some of the issues and co-design improvements. The aim is to improve access to and experience of services and improve outcomes for LGBTQ people.

If you are interested in learning more or taking part in these events please contact: Jane Woodhull at [email protected] or phone 07743734254 (Mon-Thurs).