Health teams are lending their support to Pride Month as they prepare to join in one of the North East’s biggest LGBT+ events.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is continuing its work to support the LGBT+ community and promote inclusion across all of its services.

Throughout June, the Trust will be working to highlight the support available to staff and patients.

It has raised the Pride flag at its hospitals for the month as part of its backing of Pride Month.

The Trust runs its own Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Plus (LGBT+) Staff Network for its workforce.

This offers colleagues a safe space to share experiences, seek support and represent their views. It also helps remove healthcare barriers for LGBT+ patients and make it an inclusive place to work.

Among the teams to back the campaign will be Sexual Health Services in South Tyneside and Gateshead.

They will spend Pride Month raising the profile of the support they provide.

They are also gearing up to attend Northern Pride’s weekend of celebrations in July.

In addition to joining in the march through Newcastle on Saturday, July 22.

The community-based team will then be on hand at a stall on the Town Moor, offering information and advice during the festival.

They will work alongside NHS colleagues from New Croft House in Newcastle to offer access to services. This includes sexual transmitted infection (STI) screening, contraception and a counselling team who offer therapy for people experiencing issues with their sexual health.

It is hoped more people will feel confident in coming forward to get checked out or seek advice as a result of finding out more about what they offer.

The teams’ Pride efforts are backed by the Talking Therapies and Lifecycle Services. They support children, young people and adults, with their mental health.

Dan Dobson, a Community Specialist Health Improvement Practitioner for the Trust, said: “Pride Month offers us the chance to showcase the services on offer throughout the year and the chance to reach out to all communities to say ‘We’re here for you’.

“We’re open to everyone. People’s sexual and mental health is key to feeling well and if anyone needs support, we’re ready to help. The team are experienced at dealing with all questions and we don’t want anyone to feel worried or anxious about coming in for an appointment.

“It was fantastic to join in last year’s Northern Pride event last year, when it made its return after the pandemic.

“We’re looking forward to joining in again and we know this year’s will be even bigger.

“We’ll be there to help people find out more and we’re excited to join others from across the region to show what support is on offer.”

The Trust encourages its staff to be allies through its Rainbow Badge pledge scheme.

It runs awareness training, is a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme and has commissioned gender identity training.

Jake Higgin is an Inclusion Officer with the Trust’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, which is also planning to support Sunderland Pride on Saturday, July 8.

He said: “We’re looking forward to backing Pride Month and both events coming up soon.

“As a Trust, we’re tireless in our work to support our colleagues and patients and represent who they are in all that we do.

“This month gives us a chance to let people who identify as LGBT+ people know they have a safe space within the Trust to have their voices heard.”

Details of the Trust’s Sexual Health Services can be found via by clicking here while details of mental health services offered by the Trust can be found by clicking here.

Information about the Trust as an inclusive employer can be found here.