A new poster campaign from gay rights charity Stonewall is urging lesbians and bisexual women to take better care of their health and ‘love their inner lesbian’.

According to research undertaken by the organisation last year, “deeply disturbing” levels of self-harm, drinking and drug abuse were found. It was also found that lesbians and bisexual women are excluded from routine testing for cervical cancer.

It also revealed that half of those who responded said they had recently had a negative experience while visiting their GP and many felt unable to discuss their sexual orientation or health needs.

As a result of the research, the charity says it is trying to make lesbian health a more visible issue and the posters will be available for healthcare centres to display. They include the slogan ‘Love your inner lesbian’ and list some of the key statistics of the report, such as those on smear tests, parenting, mental health and substance abuse.

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s head of policy and research, said: “At Stonewall we recognise that, even though our extensive programme of work benefits women as well as men, lesbians face unique challenges and encounter issues that men don’t – especially in terms of healthcare. This poster campaign continues Stonewall’s commitment to act upon our research to improve the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people – at home, at school and at work.”