Press Statement 26th June 2019
To mark the 2019 LGBTQ Pride Dublin Festival, HSE Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service have launched an initiative to promote a positive message of inclusion for LGBTI+ young people, families and colleagues. Staff from Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) have been signing up to wear a specially designed HSE Rainbow badge to show support for those that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/trans+, intersex or who do not identify as heterosexual or male/female.
“Simple visual symbols such as the HSE Rainbow Badge, can make a real difference to young people exploring their sexuality or questioning their assigned gender. These badges are a visual commitment to young people and families, who may be worried about the reaction they may receive if they were to disclose their sexuality or gender identity when in contact with our services; that they are valued and respected” said Mike Healy who is driving the initiative as HSE Assistant Director of Nursing for Linn Dara CAMHS Approved Centre. Mike explained that The Rainbow Badge initiative was first introduced by the staff at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and has since been rolled out successfully in many NHS organisations across England.
When staff sign up to the initiative, they are provided with information about the challenges LGBTI+ people and families can face and are given details on how they can offer support or how they can seek additional support should that be required. The negative effects of stigmatisation, harassment and discrimination on LGBTI+ people which is termed ‘Minority Stress’ is well known (Supporting LGBT Lives, 2009) and Linn Dara CAMHS is committed to improving the health of LGBTI+ young people by cultivating an environment that is safe, supportive and inclusive for all those that use or work in its services including those that identify as LGBTI+. Rainbow Badges are the first step in the process for Linn Dara CAMHS in addressing the needs of LGBTI+ young people and families who access its services.
Young people, staff and peer reviews have all reported on the need for healthcare professionals to reach out, support and include LGBTI+ people in day to day workings. The HSE Rainbow Badge symbolises the recognition that, people who work in healthcare can play a key role in making things better. LGBT Ireland Report (2016) acknowledges LGBTI specific barriers to accessing mental health services including a
- Lack of understanding: mental health practitioners were not sufficiently aware and understanding of LGBTI identities and the appropriate language and terminology to use.
- Fear of misunderstanding: The person’s LGBTI identity would be seen as the problem.
HSE Chief Officer Ann O’Shea commended staff on the introduction of HSE Rainbow badges and their dedication to equality, diversity and inclusion. “Young people and their families are the cornerstone of the services we provide in Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and this initiative which has been championed by the staff working on the frontline, sends a very clear message that Linn Dara CAMHS is an open healthcare service that will ensure that if you use its services, you will be free from exclusion, judgement and discrimination”
The Rainbow Badge Initiative emphasises that wearing a badge is a responsibility. Basic education and information resources are provided to staff who sign up to the project. The initiative aims to actively break down barriers which LGBTI+ people and families may face when accessing HSE Services.
Notes for the editor
CAMHS Linn Dara is an inpatient Unit based on the grounds of Cherry Orchard Campus, Ballyfermot Road, Dublin 10. Further information about Linn Dara CAMHS is available onhttps://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/4/mental-health-services/camhs/linn-dara-inpatient-unit/
The initiative has launched in the UK / NHS and has got widespread approval and support.
Please contact Nicola Gregg 045 988 336 / 087 2293031 if you have any further queries
Last updated on: 27 / 06 / 2019