Pride and Mental Health - Celebrating Pride in the workplace

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Health Assured team

15 May 2024

What is Pride Month?

LGBTQ+ Pride Month is a month-long celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and non-binary people. The month sets as a reminder of the events and people who pioneered progressive changes and supported the need to achieve justice and equal opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community.

Celebrated annually on the month of June, the month is particularly special in the LGBTQ+ community as it plays homage to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan which spearheaded the modern LGBTQ+ movement.

In 2024, the theme is ‘Medicine Under the Scope’ focusing on improving LGBTQ+ representation in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and remembering the contributions the LGBTQ+ community has had on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Stonewall Uprising

In the early hours of the 28th of June 1969, the police raided a New York City gay club the Stonewall Inn, sparking riots and protests around the area. Eventually, this lead to residents and patrons organising activists’ groups and demanding decriminalization of homosexuality in the United States.

The event is known as a defining moment that altered the gay liberation movement forever, subsequently Pride is celebrated in June.

The gay rights movement has come a long way since 1969, but there is still a lot more we need to do. Pride Month stands as an important platform and reminder to remember those who have supported this change and the people who are still fighting for better equality and LGBTQ+ rights.

Why is it important?

Pride is a positive opportunity to promote inclusivity, acceptance, diversity and equality. It’s a time to reflect on the journey of the gay rights movement and celebrate those who have supported the cause.  

Pride is an significant platform to raise awareness around LGBTQ+ challenges, how the community has prompted change for the better and why every person in the community deserves respect and dignity.

It is essential to understanding how the LGBTQ+ community has dealt with prejudice, changed laws, and remembering the LGBTQ+ heroes to combat bias, build awareness, increase understanding, and created safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people. It allows us to learn from the past so we can keep the momentum of the movement going, combating discrimination and prejudice that is still rife today.

LGBTQ+, the workplace and mental health

Did you know that 36% of adults in the UK have experienced discrimination in the workplace? This shocking statistic is an important reminder of how vital it is to celebrate pride and raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s important to remember that being part of the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t mean you will automatically experience mental health issues. However, LGBTQ+ people face significant barriers compared to their heterosexual counterparts, such as discrimination and prejudice. Already present bias and prejudice towards the LGBTQ+ community creates a higher risk of developing poor mental health, further highlighting the need to celebrate, understand and support the LGBTQ+ community.

How can we celebrate pride in the workplace?

Everyone should take accountable for doing their part towards inclusivity. However, as a leader, it is your responsibility to safeguard the mental health of your people and make sure everyone feels included in the workplace.

  1. Training and awareness days

Training your people to be aware of LGBTQ+ challenges and the gay rights movement is important in combatting bias, prejudice and discrimination within the workplace. Offering training and celebrating awareness days uplifts your LGBTQ+ people and create a space where they feel accepted, understood, and comfortable while at work.

  1. Ensure you have support in place

Providing mental health support is vital for every organisation’s productivity, morale and growth. Giving your people the means to access free mental health support, such as an EAP allows them autonomy over their own mental health. Many organisations offer EAP’s where their people can quickly access counselling services without having to pay or wait in long queues, encouraging all to seek the support they need.

  1. Revise policies

It is essential to revise policies and procedures often to make sure they are up to date with new legislation to protect LGBTQ+ people. Ensure that all policies safeguard the mental health of your LGBTQ+ people and allow them to thrive in your organisation.

Your inclusion policy should be robust and clear for everyone to understand. Discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated and dealt with fairly and promptly.

  1. Celebrate Pride month

It’s important to celebrate pride month within the office to show your solidarity to the LGBTQ+ community. Celebrating pride boosts team’s morale and creates a safe environment for your LGBTQ+ people. You can also use this time to educate your people on the gay rights movement, Pride and LGBTQ+ history to improve awareness and combat discrimination.

Ways to celebrate pride:

  • Play Pride trivia
  • Decorate the office
  • Share educational LGBTQ+ resources
  • Invite LGBTQ+ speakers into the office to spread awareness

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