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Poster for LGBT helpline could go up in every GP surgery

Nick Duffy November 23, 2015

Helpline Switchboard has sent 10,000 posters to GP surgeries across the country, offering free support to people who are struggling with their identity.

Switchboard runs a provides confidential phone, e-mail and instant messaging services to support people who want to talk about sexuality and gender identity.

As part of a new campaign, it has sent posters for GPs to display poster offering “calm words when you need them most”.

Dr Christian Jessen, who backed the initiative, sent a letter alongside the poster advocating for it.

He wrote: “We all know that patients come to see us when they’re worried not only about their physical health but also when they have concerns about their mental, emotional or sexual health.

“Questions about sexuality and/or gender identity are often associated with teenagers, but as I am sure you will have experienced, patients can come to us with these concerns at any age, and their questions can be very tricky to answer.

“Switchboard – the LGBT+ helpline is one the UK’s oldest LGBT+ charities which has provided crucial information and support to callers for over 40 years.

“It’s a voluntary organisation which provides an information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and trans* people and anyone who needs to consider issues around sexuality and/or gender identity.

“They promote a positive attitude to being lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and are confidential, welcoming, supportive and non-judgmental.

“Switchboard volunteers are committed to discussing safer sex to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. And while volunteers don’t try to influence the decisions of callers, Switchboard does aim to make all callers aware of their own sexual health.”

It adds: “Switchboard and I implore you to please display it in your waiting room so that those who may need their help can discover them, and I also hope that you will find Switchboard useful to refer your patients to, if needed.”

Dave Maher, co-chair of Switchboard says: “At Switchboard we promote a positive attitude to being lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans.

“We’re confidential too and welcoming, supportive, non-judgmental.

“All our volunteers are also committed to discussing safer sex to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

The charity was previously known as the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, but re-branded earlier this year to adopt a name that is more inclusive of all LGBT people.

Olympic diver Tom Daley recently auctioned a pair of his own swimming trunks to raise money for Switchboard.

More: doctor, doctors, Gay, GP, helpline, LGBT, switchboard

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