Project Details


Funded by the East Sussex Health Authority and Brighton & Hove Regeneration Partnership programme, Count Me in Too (CMIT) was an award-winning project led by Professor Kath Browne, which examined marginalisation, exclusion, disenfranchisement and need among LGBT people within Brighton and Hove.

Initially the University of Brighton was approached by Spectrum - an LGBT Community Forum that promotes partnership work, community engagement and community development. Their concerns were that, although Brighton is portrayed as the gay capital and being a safe and tolerant place, there were still areas of poor or misinformed service that needed to be addressed. It was believed that there were LGBT groups that were isolated and being missed by mainstream service providers.

There were two main studies underpinning this research:

Count me in too
Suicidal Distress in LGBT Communities

The project aimed to provide a better qualitative understanding of experiences of suicidal distress amongst two groups seen to be at particular risk:

LGBT people with mental health problems
LGBT youths

It began with using focus groups and a large-scale survey, combined with targeted focus groups, to ensure inclusion of ‘hard-to-reach’ groups. These included LGBT people with shared identities, such as older people, young people, minority ethnic people, parents, hate crime survivors and deaf people.

It looked at the relevance of negative ‘coming out’ experiences; occasions of institutional - family, media, religion, employment – discrimination; and homophobic or transphobic bullying in precipitating suicidal attempts. Also considered, was the impact of the ‘double stigma’ of not only being stigmatised in the mental health system because of sexuality, but also in the LGBT community for having mental health problems.

Key findings

The project found that while some LGBT people have benefitted from the introduction of the anti-discriminatory legislation and the tolerant ‘urbanity’ of the city of Brighton & Hove, others - particularly trans and bisexual people - continue to experience multiple forms of exclusion. In addition, the needs of LGBT people in the areas of mental health, safety, housing, drugs and alcohol were also identified as not being met.

The project identified the importance of access to LGBT-sensitive, but not necessarily LGBT-exclusive, services for those who were in the early stage of identity construction. These people may be reluctant to identify as LGBT because of the negative constructions to which they were exposed.

The Suicide Distress (SD) project built on population-based research that has established that LGBT people are significantly more likely to think about and attempt suicide than the general population. SD emerged as a ‘knowledge exchange’ project seeking to support the work of a recently-appointed suicide prevention worker at MindOut - a mental health service run by and for LGBT people in Brighton.

The results of this research have led to an improvement in service planning and, by providing better opportunities for LGBT people to identify and communicate their diverse needs to service providers, local and national policy has been influenced and changed. Spectrum was formed as a result of this project, in part to hold mainstream services accountable to LGBT communities.
Effective start/end date1/09/0731/08/10


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