‘Croydon’s LGBTQ+ community needs better support’: Report lays out action plan to tackle inequality

Croydon’s LGBTQ+ community needs better support to improve their health outcomes and access to health and care services, a report released today has found.

The call to action comes from Croydon’s director of public health, Rachel Flowers, in her latest annual report,.

Ms Flowers highlights the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ residents, including limited data which restricts the local authority’s understanding of their health and well-being needs and the inequalities they face. 

According to the 2021 Census, 3.1 per cent of Croydon’s population – about 9,520 people – identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and other non-straight identities.

The report’s analysis suggests that older people and individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds in the borough were more likely to be non-responders when asked about their sexuality.

A survey of 7,126 young LGBTQ people in London showed that 44 per cent of LGBTQ respondents reported going for medical help for depression or anxiety compared to 29 per cent of heterosexual non-trans respondents. 

Similarly, more than half of the LGBTQ respondents reported self-harming at least once in their lives compared with 35 per cent of heterosexual, non-trans people.

In light of the available data, Ms Flowers has put forward a series of recommendations, including NHS organisations based in Croydon, working with the council, the LGBTQ+ community and the voluntary and community sector, to conduct a needs assessment to better understand issues related to mental health and neurodiversity within the LGBTQ+ community.

The report also recommends NHS health care, including Primary Care, local authority social care and front line staff should undergo mandatory LGBTQ+ sensitivity training to improve “cultural competence”.

Ms Flowers said she would work with Croydon’s LGBTQ+ population and other key partners to implement the recommendations.

She said: “This report is not easy reading. While we have a lot to celebrate, we have a long way to go.

“We need to continue asking questions to better understand the health and well-being needs of our LGBTQ+ community. 

“I make several recommendations to improve this so that we can achieve a more inclusive, equitable and healthier Croydon.”

Pictured top: (Picture: Croydon council)

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