Introduction to LGBTQ+ identities and issues


Sometimes it can feel hard to know what some of the terms used around sexual orientation and gender identity mean or what’s okay to say and what is not. For instance, you might wonder, “What does pansexual mean?” (it’s when someone is capable of being attracted to any and all genders). This discomfort might cause us to avoid conversations about LGBTQ+ all together, which is one way stigma, discrimination and prejudice are allowed to continue. Confusion or lack of understanding can also extend to the issues that the LGBTQ+ community faces. For instance, research shows that acceptance has actually declined for the first time, with the number of people who considered same-sex relationships to be “not wrong at all” falling from 68% to 66% [1]. Those who identify in ways that differ from “mainstream society” often encounter slurs, prejudice and discrimination.

Having at least a basic understanding opens the door for having more meaningful conversations around LQBTQ+ identity and issues. This is especially important for foster carers. LGBTQ+ children are overrepresented in the foster care system and are more likely to experience rejection, neglect and abuse from their families. Preparing for and having hard conversations about their experiences is crucial to help them heal from experiences they may have had in the past. To help foster carers be better informed, we have developed an introductory course full of information about what LGBTQ+ identity means and some of the issues members of this community face. Check out our course here. References [1] British Social Attitudes report by The National Center for Social Research

Having at least a basic understanding opens the door for having more meaningful conversations around LQBTQ+ identity and issues. This is especially important for foster carers. LGBTQ+ children are overrepresented in the foster care system and are more likely to experience rejection, neglect and abuse from their families. Preparing for and having hard conversations about their experiences is crucial to help them heal from experiences they may have had in the past. To help foster carers be better informed, we have developed an introductory course full of information about what LGBTQ+ identity means and some of the issues members of this community face. Check out our course here. References [1] British Social Attitudes report by The National Center for Social Research


Youth Mental Health Awareness


What comes to mind when you hear “mental health”? Are your thoughts automatically about mental illness? That there’s something wrong or bad going on? If you did, you’re not alone. There is a strong stigma in our culture around mental health. But thankfully, that is beginning to change. There is more awareness that mental health is a spectrum that ranges from mental wellness to mental illness. Everyone lands somewhere between the two ends, so everyone has their own experience with mental health. However, if you’ve ever been on the side of mental ill-health, you know how hard it is to talk about and get support. 


As a foster carer, you are caring for children and young people who are more likely to have experiences that increase their risk of having mental ill-health. In fact, within the UK it is estimated that nearly 50% of children in care meet the criteria for a possible mental health disorder [1]. Unfortunately, conditions under the coronavirus pandemic have only made mental ill-health more prominent. 

While what’s going on in a child's mind it’s not always obvious based on their words or behaviours, children in care need foster carers who actively engage in seeing to their mental health. Looking out for common signs of mental ill-health and teaching habits that promote mental well-health are two great ways to do this. But the most important thing is talking about it. Establishing yourself as a safe, supportive and loving resource for your foster children goes miles in helping a foster child’s mental health. It also helps progress our communities and whole society forward in talking openly and seriously about mental health.


We offer a full course on Youth Mental Health Awareness that you can access here.


References

[1] Department for Education, 2018.

While what’s going on in a child's mind it’s not always obvious based on their words or behaviours, children in care need foster carers who actively engage in seeing to their mental health. Looking out for common signs of mental ill-health and teaching habits that promote mental well-health are two great ways to do this. But the most important thing is talking about it. Establishing yourself as a safe, supportive and loving resource for your foster children goes miles in helping a foster child’s mental health. It also helps progress our communities and whole society forward in talking openly and seriously about mental health.


We offer a full course on Youth Mental Health Awareness that you can access here.


References

[1] Department for Education, 2018.

Mental Health Awareness for Staff

The demands on social workers seem endless. It certainly requires you to be a jack and jane of all trades. It’s certainly not news to you that mental health is one of those “trades” requiring your active engagement. The spectrum of mental health is something we all experience. Some days we are more mentally well than others. 


The foster carers that you work with are no exception. The care they provide for some of our most vulnerable youth can take a toll on their mental health. In fact, 84% felt more stress, 78% felt more anxious and 55% reported more depressive symptoms as a result of their role as a carer [1]. Yet, there is still a stigma around mental health that can prevent people from acknowledging they’re struggling and asking for help.

One practical way of helping your carers through the stigma is to open the door to conversations about mental health early and often. When you establish yourself as an advocate who understands and is also concerned about their mental health, it removes a big barrier for them. Not having to bring it up - instead just sharing when asked may seem a small thing, but it can make all the difference in knowing early on if a carer is having difficulties. This will better inform your work in identifying foster carers that need support. Because, as you know, having mentally well foster carers goes a long way in creating homes where children in care are safe, cared for and loved.

We offer a mental health awareness course that can refresh your knowledge on mental health. It offers practical advice to help ensure you’re able to make the mental health of your foster carers a consistent priority.


References

[1] Mental Health Foundation.


One practical way of helping your carers through the stigma is to open the door to conversations about mental health early and often. When you establish yourself as an advocate who understands and is also concerned about their mental health, it removes a big barrier for them. Not having to bring it up - instead just sharing when asked may seem a small thing, but it can make all the difference in knowing early on if a carer is having difficulties. This will better inform your work in identifying foster carers that need support. Because, as you know, having mentally well foster carers goes a long way in creating homes where children in care are safe, cared for and loved.

We offer a mental health awareness course that can refresh your knowledge on mental health. It offers practical advice to help ensure you’re able to make the mental health of your foster carers a consistent priority.


References

[1] Mental Health Foundation.