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Toolkit helps nurses prevent suicide in gay and lesbian teens

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A toolkit has been launched to help nurses prevent suicide among younger patients who are lesbian, gay and bisexual.

The toolkit is a joint initiative between Public Health England and the Royal College of Nursing.

“This toolkit should help to highlight an important and often overlooked issue”

Peter Carter

It aims to equip nurses with the knowledge and skills to provide support and help to this group of patients, who are at higher risk of suicide than their heterosexual peers.

The National Aids Trust said recently that 99% of homosexual and bisexual teenagers had reported being abused by school mates due to their sexual orientation.

Nurses are “uniquely placed” to support this group of young people who have not accessed mental health services, said the RCN.

“There has been a rise in self-harm and suicide rates among lesbian, gay and bisexual youths”

It added that the new toolkit was based on latest research and provided insight into the experiences of patients, as well as offering guidance on key areas including risk factors, confidentiality and consent and effective communication.

“There has been a rise in self-harm and suicide rates among lesbian, gay and bisexual youths”

Kevin Fenton

Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: “Recent evidence shows there has been a rise in self-harm and suicide rates among lesbian, gay and bisexual youths.

“We know this is an area that local health and wellbeing boards are also keen to address and we are pleased to be working with the RCN, and a wide network of community stakeholders, to tackle the issue,” he added.

Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “Suicide in any situation is a tragedy and nurses have a duty to identify risk factors and prevent suicide wherever possible.

“Our ambition for this toolkit is to help nurses deliver the best possible care to lesbian, gay and bisexual young people experiencing mental health issues,” he said. “This toolkit should help to highlight an important and often overlooked issue.”

He added that he thought the toolkit should in future be integrated into the national suicide prevention strategy.

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