PREJUDICE Gays' mental health discrimation

Lesbians and gay men are living in a "climate of fear", experiencing physical assault, verbal abuse and discrimination when they use mainstream mental health services.

Research by the mental health charity Mind found that nearly three-quarters had experienced prejudice and discrimination and more than one in five suffering physical and sexual violence.

More than half said that staff had used their homosexuality to explain their mental health problems and had been told they might have fewer problems if they were heterosexual.

"Despite the fact that homosexuality has not been listed as a mental health problem for over 20 years, it is clear that many mental health professionals still consider homosexuality to be a mental illness," said Judi Clements, chief executive of Mind.

Glenda Cooper