Welsh Government action plan to further equality for transgender people – Samaritans Cymru

Samaritans welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Welsh Government consultation on the Action Plan to Further Equality for Transgender People. We are pleased to see a strong focus on identifying the evidence gaps which exist when assessing life in Wales for transgender people. We also believe that engagement with Trans people and representatives of transgender organisations is vital for setting priorities for the future of the Welsh Government Transgender Action Plan.

Q1) Do you think these actions should be a priority to improve equality for transgender children and young people?

Samaritans support the proposed action to hold a cyber-hate conference during Hate Crime Awareness Week which would enable young transgender people to talk openly about their issues surrounding cyber bullying. Within this conversation, it would be appropriate to ask this group about any solution based approaches which they would suggest in order to mitigate their specific form of cyber bullying and their experience with the online environment.

As a means of raising awareness of gender and transgender-based bullying, Samaritans support published lesson plans in schools and other educational settings.  (Youth offender institutions for example). However, in terms of creating an advancement of equality for children and young people in Wales, Samaritans believe that emotional health lessons (such as Samaritans’ DEAL for example ) should be taught in schools and educational settings in order to increase help seeking behaviour and reduce the amount of young people experiencing emotional distress.

Q14) Do you think there should be any other priorities addressed in the Transgender Action Plan? If so, what should these priorities be?

A recent report from PACE (2010-15) revealed that 48% of trans people under 26 said they had attempted suicide, and 30% said they had done so in the past year, while 59% said they had at least considered doing so.  Reducing suicide requires a wide range of agencies to work together nationally and in local communities to give people the best chance to turn their lives around when they are struggling. There is a lack of understanding of transgender in Welsh society and it is vital that this is addressed so we can identify and help those individual who are experiencing emotional distress.

Whilst transgender people are at higher risk of some mental health problems (anxiety, depression), they will also experience other mental health issues that are not related to being transgender.  ‘Unhealthy Attitudes’, a survey by YouGov and commissioned by Stonewall, revealed that a quarter (24%) of general practitioners in the UK are not confident in their ability to respond to the specific care needs of trans patients.  Samaritans believe that health and social care organisations in Wales  should signpost patients to listening and advocacy services.

In addition to this, ‘Unhealthy Attitudes’ stated that more than eight in ten (83%) health and social care staff in the UK had not seen any specific posters or literature that are specifically targeted to include trans people.

Samaritans support Stonewall’s recommendation that all health and social care organisations must make sure that inclusive information and resources are readily available for patients and staff.  To further equality, this should also be extended to schools and educational settings.

Q15) Are you aware of any supporting evidence or research which will help inform the Transgender Action Plan?

  • Catherine Somerville ‘Unhealthy Attitudes: The treatment of LGBT people within health and social care services’ YouGov/ Stonewall
  • Nuno Nadin, Elizabeth Peel, Allan Tyler and Ian Rivers ‘The RaRE Research Report: LGB&T Mental Health – Risk and Resilience Explored’ PACE

i DEAL (Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening) can be accessed here – www.samaritans.com/DEAL
ii Nuno Nadin, Elizabeth Peel, Allan Tyler and Ian Rivers ‘The RaRE Research Report: LGB&T Mental Health – Risk and Resilience Explored’ PACE
iii Catherine Somerville ‘Unhealthy Attitudes: The treatment of LGBT people within health and social care services’ YouGov/ Stonewall