‘Mind Yourself’ – Mental Health & Wellbeing with Martin Furber; A Rainbow of Resilience – LGBT+ History Month & Prioritising Mental Health in our Community.

February is a month rich in significance for our community. As we celebrate LGBT+ History Month, I’d like to recognise the incredible advancements made in HIV treatment, a journey that began with the identification of HTLV-3 in the very early 1980s.

It certainly affected the mental health of much of our community, it also brought out the best in all of us, and created unbreakable bonds across the entire rainbow community.

As we reflect on this shared history, one truth shines bright throughout our entire community – resilience.

Being of (ahem) a certain age, looking back, I can remember how easy it was to become overwhelmed by the initial fear and uncertainty surrounding HIV. The stigma, the isolation, the constant battle for acceptance and basic healthcare access – these were very real struggles faced by many in our community.

Those of us who were around then couldn’t help but be affected by the way much of society viewed anyone under the rainbow flag with contempt. Thinking back to those early days of the first cases, it was not much more than a decade earlier that homosexual acts between two men were still illegal! I can still remember the outcries from certain quarters, about how we had brought it on ourselves, it should never have been made legal!

Over in Manchester, the then Chief Constable, James Anderton went on the record as stating ‘Homosexuals were swirling around in a cess pit of their own making’, and the press loved it! Can you imagine what that did to the mental health of any gay man?

But within this darkness, a beacon of hope emerged. Scientists, activists, and individuals living with HIV fought tirelessly, demanding change and pushing for research and development. We got together and protested! I can remember being on protests with a troupe of lesbians (the lowest risk group of all) who were standing shoulder to shoulder with us as we made our noise, demanding change – true community!

The discovery of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the mid-1990s was a watershed moment, transforming HIV from a death sentence into a manageable chronic condition.

This progress, however, wasn’t simply confined to the realm of medicine. It sparked a revolution in attitudes and awareness. As we celebrate LGBT+ History Month, I want to acknowledge the incredible contributions of activists and community leaders who fought for inclusion, challenged discrimination, and demanded access to healthcare for all. Their tireless efforts paved the way for a more understanding and accepting society, creating a space where individuals living with HIV could not only survive but thrive.

Yet, the journey is far from over. While advancements in HIV treatment are truly remarkable, the emotional scars left by stigma, discrimination, and past experiences can linger. Many in our community still grapple with anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation. It’s crucial to remember that prioritising mental health is not a luxury, but a necessity. Just as we fought for access to life-saving medication, we must now fight for access to comprehensive mental health support.

Here in Liverpool, we are fortunate to have a network of resources dedicated to supporting the well-being of individuals living with HIV. From Sahir House counselling services to community support groups and mental health professionals, there is help available. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Reaching out for support is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength, resilience, and a commitment to your own well-being.

Here are some practical steps you can take to prioritise your mental health:

  • Keep connected, social connection is vital for emotional well-being. Join a support group, attend community events, or simply reach out to a friend or family member you trust.
  • Engage in activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. This could include exercise, mindfulness practices, spending time in nature, or pursuing hobbies you enjoy.
  • Stay informed and educate yourself about HIV and mental health. Knowledge is power, and it can help you make informed decisions about your own well-being.

We have come a long way together, and by looking after our mental health, we can build an even brighter future for ourselves and future generations. Let’s celebrate our shared history, honour the struggles and triumphs, and move forward with hope, resilience, and a commitment to our well-being.

That’s it for this month. If you would like me to cover any other subjects to do with mental health and well-being please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

Please feel free to send me an email with SAHIR HOUSE in the subject line to

If you would like to know more about the private treatments I offer then please check out my website

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