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04 DEC 2015
Press Release: 380 Health Professionals Attend First Trans Healthcare Conference
Yesterday (Thursday 3rd December), 380 health professionals attended the first National Transgender Healthcare Conference in Carlow.
(Photo credit: Pat Moore)
This event was organised by the HSE in partnership with Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI). International and national experts, including Prof. Peggy Cohen-Kettenis and Prof. Donal O’Shea, spoke about their experiences treating trans people and the need for evidence-based health services for trans people in Ireland.
Trans people report significant barriers to accessing health services. In TENI's Speaking from the Margins report, the largest study of trans people in Ireland, 74% of participants reported a negative experience at a health service and 69% reported a negative experience at a mental health service.
Speaking after the conference, Dr Philip Crowley, HSE National Director, the Quality Improvement Division, said: "The HSE is in the process of developing treatment pathways for transgender people. We must build on the services we already have and reach a consensus on a pathway that is effective, respectful and based in good practice. We need to do this in partnership with key stakeholders, including the transgender community."
The HSE's proposed treatment pathway will go to consultation in January.
"I believe we are seeing the dawn of a new era of trans healthcare delivery that is holistic and patient-centered," said TENI Health and Education Manager Vanessa Lacey. "This conference was an important step towards developing greater knowledge and understanding among health professionals and a unique opportunity for partnership-building."
In a survey of 793 HSE Health and Social Care Professionals, 90% of respondents stated that they had not had any training on trans issues and 74% of respondents indicated that they would like training in this area.
TENI has delivered 67 trainings to nearly 2,000 healthcare professionals since the beginning of 2015.
"At the conference we saw a clear emphasis on the diversity of trans experiences and an understanding of gender as existing on a spectrum. There is no doubt in my mind that to improve trans healthcare in Ireland we need a clear treatment pathway alongside holistic and comprehensive healthcare services for trans people and their families. We also need to look at regional services," concluded Ms. Lacey.
Transgender Health Needs
In TENI's Speaking from the Margins report, researchers found high levels of suicidality within the trans community: 78% of participants reported thinking about ending their lives and 40% of those reported attempting suicide at least once. Participants also reported common experiences of stress (83%), depression (82%) and anxiety (73%).
The report also found that transition had a positive impact on a trans person’s mental health, with 75% of participants reporting that they felt that their mental health had improved. The positive impact was even more significant in terms of suicidality, with the majority of respondents reporting that they thought about or attempted suicide less after transition (81% thought about suicide or attempting suicide more before transition).
TENI's report Speaking from the Margins: Trans Mental Health and Wellbeing in Ireland is available at www.teni.ie.
TENI would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the speakers who took part in the conference. Special thanks to the organisers, including Dr. Derval Howley, Tara Hunt and Angela Joy. This event would not have been possible without the support of Dr Philip Crowley, Diane Nurse and Caoimhe Gleeson. TENI thanks all our funders including the HSE, NOSP and the Sigrid Rausing Trust.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
For comment, please contact TENI Health and Education Manager Vanessa Lacey on (085) 147 7166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general enquiries please contact TENI on (01) 873 3575 or email@example.com.
Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) seeks to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. www.teni.ie