How Place2Be is supporting the LGBTQ+ community
How Place2Be is supporting the LGBTQ+ community
Head of Communications - Abi joined Place2Be in 2019, and has overall responsibility for our communications including PR, social media, brand, and campaigns such as Children’s Mental Health Week. She has almost 10 years’ experience working in the charity, environment and education sector.
In a blog to mark the start of Pride Month, Abi Aldridge, Place2Be’s Head of Communications, reflects on all Place2Be is doing to support the LGBTQ+ community.
At Place2Be, we believe all children and young people should live healthy, safe, and fulfilled lives – regardless of their sexuality, religion, ethnicity or gender.
We know that LGBTQ+ young people can experience poor mental health at a disproportionate rate. In April 2021, a survey of 11-18-year-olds carried out by the charity Just Like Us found that LGBT+ young people are twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety and panic attacks than those who are not LGBT+.
Place2Be understands that part of growing up and developing includes exploring one’s identity, including gender identity. For some, this is an enjoyable and exciting adventure, and for others, this can be challenging. Some children and young people may experience disapproval, bullying or oppression because of who they are and how they express or want to express their identity. We work to support all children and young people’s mental health as they work out who they are.
That’s why we’re proud to be supporting Pride Month this year, to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, and show the Place2Be community – our colleagues, supporters, and the schools that we work with – that we care.
Ahead of Pride Month, I sat down with colleagues from across the charity to better understand what Place2Be is doing to support the LGBTQ+ community.
Sharing advice and resources for schools and families
- In an article for Parenting Smart, our expert parenting team wrote an article on helping children develop positive gender identity.
- Last Pride Month, we published a blog on supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people, signposting to other organisations and resources to support young people, families and schools.
- Today, we’ve published new advice from some of the Place2Be Scotland team on 5 ways schools can create safe spaces for everyone to 'come as they are'.
- Our Children’s Mental Health Week 2023 resources explored the theme of 'Let’s Connect' and included relationships and LGBTQ+ allyship.
- In the Place2Be Staffroom*, we ran a webinar on supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people.
- Our new in-school marketing materials (for Place2Be partner schools) feature illustrations of non-binary characters. We have also developed a poster to signal to the young people that everyone is invited to 'come as they are' to talk through any issues with the Place2Be mental health professional in their school.
Championing the LGBTQ+ community within Place2Be
- Our Plus+ Group, established in 2021, is a group of colleagues from across the organisation, across the country, from across the LGBTQ+ community who meet regularly to look at LGBTQ+-related topics for Place2Be.
- Our induction process includes mandatory training on inclusivity, and we’ve become members of Inclusive Employers, with access to all their training resources and webinars. This month, they are delivering a session for us on Trans and Non-Binary Inclusion – which is open to all colleagues.
- The Place2Be Scotland team has been working towards their LGBT Gold Charter Mark and sharing their learnings across the organisation. This process has led to Place2Be developing its own Trans Equality Policy.
- This month, the Scotland team has also organised an event for Place2Be's Counsellors on Placement (CoPs) to discuss ‘working with LGBTQ+ children and young people on placement’ and provide an inclusive space for CoPs to share their experiences.
- Place2Be colleagues are invited to include their pronouns in their email signatures and Zoom names if they wish.
- Place2Be’s Diversity Reading Group, which explores a different theme each month, is looking at books, extracts and articles exploring LGBTQ+ issues during Pride Month.
This is just a snapshot of what we’re doing in this space. We know there’s always more to be done and that this work should extend far beyond Pride Month (and be much more than just changing our logo!).
Here at Place2Be, we will continue to work with our colleagues, supporters, and school communities to better understand how we can be more inclusive and better enable them to support the mental health of LGBTQ+ communities.
Other resources you may find useful
- Supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people – Place2Be
- 5 ways that schools can create safe spaces for everyone to 'come as they are' – Place2Be
- Helping children develop positive gender identity – Parenting Smart
- Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion – Place2Be
* The Place2Be Staffroom is a dedicated online community for education professionals, youth workers and trainee teachers who have completed the Mental Health Champions - Foundation, Senior Mental Health Leads, or Place2Think programme.
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