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LGBT People and Disproportionate COVID-19 Impact (Last update: 18.09.2020)
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) provides information on its website on dealing with specific Patient groups throughout the COVID-19 period. One of those groups is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community.
The RCGP has shared a briefing guide from the LGBT Foundation, which explains why LGBT people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and how healthcare staff can support the wider healthcare outcomes of LGBT Patients, particularly during the pandemic. Whilst LGBT people are no more likely to catch COVID-19; due to some health inequalities that LGBT people experience, such as HIV and long-term conditions, some may be at higher risk from being severely affected by the virus.
LGBT Patients who fall into the extremely clinically vulnerable groups were advised to shield, but this and other safety measures related to COVID-19 may have a detrimental effect on LGBT people.
There is a wide range of research to show that LGBT people are disproportionately more likely to have poor mental health, so factors related to COVID-19 (such as having to self-isolate, disruption to normal routines, unable to see loved ones, and anxiety around health) have a detrimental effect on the mental health of many people. People may be unable to access professional support for poor mental health (face-to-face support in particular) and during lockdown the LGBT Foundation’s helpline unsurprisingly saw an increase in calls about mental health.
LGBT people are more likely to have a ‘chosen family’ which is usually a group of people to whom someone is emotionally close and consider 'family' even though they are not biologically or legally related, often due to family rejection. So, during lockdown and self-isolation periods; they, like many others, may be separated from those closest to them during this time and may find this distressing.
Another issue particularly affecting LGBT young people is that many have found themselves isolating in a house with LGBT-phobic parents and other family members. This issue is still a huge problem in the UK, as is LGBT people who are more likely to face domestic abuse.
Trans and Non-Binary Health
Trans and non-binary people are more likely to be disabled and living with long-term conditions. These communities may be impacted particularly severely by the crisis and may be more in need of support.
It is important that vulnerable groups are monitored and supported, and Practices should be particularly aware of the mental health and sexual health needs of the LGBT community, especially if there is another lockdown.
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