Background relating to LGBTQIA+ mental health in Chile and the UK: Lessons learned

What are the main challenges that mental health professionals face when working with LGBTQIA+ people? What does it mean for us to work from a depathologising and affirmative approach? What socio-political, cultural, economic and institutional contexts must be considered when thinking about this work? How do we build solidarity networks to resist current attacks on affirmative care, and what can we learn from the struggles and experiences of colleagues situated in different locations?

These and other questions inspired a series of three Knowledge Exchange Workshops (KEW) that took place once a month between March and May 2023, as part of a broader research project funded by an Economic and Social Research Council Post Doctoral Fellowship, awarded to CTSG postdoctoral fellow Dr Tomás Ojeda. The workshops brought together a group of fifteen mental health practitioners from the cities of Valparaíso, Concepción and Santiago (Chile), and Brighton and Hove (UK), who met to exchange knowledges on LGBTQIA+ mental health and strategise ways of resisting the hostilities they face in their activist, academic and clinical practice.

In this post, we share a report documenting the main lessons learned through the exchanges and the stories the participants told about their practice in Chile and the UK. By exchanging knowledges, the workshops aimed to understand what a depathologising, affirmative and intersectional approach to LGBTQIA+ mental health means and does for the participants and the community they work with, with particular attention to knowledges that come from activist spaces, academics and people’s lived experiences. The project was transnational in scope as it put to work some of the concepts and ethical principles that shape the practice of LGBTQIA+ mental health in their cultural, socio-political and territorial specificity. It highlights how meaning-making processes are shaped through the conversation and flow of ideas, the contribution of different methods of co-production, the participants’ locations and languages, and the de-centring of academia as the only source of knowledge production.

The workshops were facilitated by the project’s Principal Investigator (PI), Tomás Ojeda our CTSG Postdoctoral Fellow , and the report is the result of a collective writing process between the PI and some of the workshop participants: Zoë Boden-Stuart, Vasily Bühring, Hannah Creedon, Helen Jones, Jaime Méndez Contreras, Emmie Prosper and Pablx Salinas Mejías. The final report LGBTQIA+ mental health in Chile and the UK: Depathologisation, affirmation and intersectionality in the experience of mental health professionals, was published on 28 September 2023, and it is available both via these links in English and Spanish.

The workshops and the report were developed as part of the ESRC post-doctoral project “The Multiple Lives of Sexual and Gender Diversity in the Psy Disciplines” (PI: Tomás Ojeda). It has been supported by the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number ES/X006913/1] and the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership.

More about Tomás

Also the Visiting Fellow, LSE Gender – Editorial member, Engenderings

Recent publications:

Anti-gender ideology in Chile: Sex education is not abuse, 2023

The Multiple Lives of Diversity in Post-dictatorship Chile2023.

Hacer hogar fuera del closet: disputando el espacio doméstico en Santiago de Chile2023

Anti-gender Politics in Latin America in Pandemic Times, 2023.