National Bi Health?

The NHS now offers some online bi information as Barking and Dagenham NHS launched their ‘Health with Pride’ website as part of the organisation’s celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month in February.

www.healthwithpride.nhs.uk was launched as a new national online resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and all healthcare professionals, developed and funded to provide information on health issues of particular interest or relevance to the LGBT community or individuals, with a specific section on the site for the borough’s estimated 10,000+ LGBT residents, signposting people to relevant local information.

‘Health with Pride’ was written by people from the LGBT community, to give information on relevant health issues, lifestyle advice and links to other resources and information for LGBT people. It also brings together information for LGBT healthcare professionals and for heterosexual health professionals working with the LGBT population, to enable the NHS to improve the services to LGBT patients and, as a result, address some of their specific health needs.

Dr Justin Varney, their Assistant Director of Health Improvement said, “Research clearly shows that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have higher levels of particular health conditions – depression and anxiety, for example – than the general population.  Messages targeted at particular groups are always more effective than ones aimed at the population in general and we know that LGBT people respond much better when the messages acknowledge LGBT identities and needs. There is a lot of good stuff already out there but this is the first time the NHS has brought so much information for LGBT people together in one place.

“This website is a fantastic new NHS resource for the LGBT community, bringing together information from all over the country and the world into a simple, single access point that we hope will enable lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to make the right health choices for them, and at the same time improve the way healthcare professionals work with this community.”

The bisexual section of the website acknowledges its limitations, reading “There is very little research about bisexual health so I’m afraid this bit might be a bit short but you will find useful information on both the lesbian and gay pages for that side of your life.  It can be tough being bi but it can also be great fun and a perfectably normal and acceptable way to live so hang in there and try not to get dragged down by other peoples prejudice and pre-conceptions. It’s always worth trying to find other bisexual people, even if only online to begin with. It often helps to bounce things around with people who have had similar expectations.”

Funding bid writers be alert – that is very nearly an NHS endorsement of groups like BiPhoria and Bothways!