A new state of the nation report published by Stonewall has identified that LGBTQ+ people are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems than the rest of the population.
The LGBT in Britain: Health Report reveals that half of LGBTQ+ people (52 per cent) have experienced depression in the last year, while three in five (61 per cent) had anxiety. The report also looks at how experiences of discrimination, harassment and being a victim of a hate crime increase the risk of poor mental health.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall said:
Our findings show that poor mental health is also higher among LGBT people who are young, Black, Asian or minority ethnic, disabled or from a socio-economically deprived background. It’s a shocking picture that must serve as a wake-up call for healthcare providers across the sector.
The study, carried out by YouGov, involved more than 5,000 LGBTQ+ people across England, Scotland and Wales. The new research also addresses the shockingly high level of hostility and unfair treatment LGBTQ+ people face when using healthcare services.
One in eight patients (13 per cent) experienced some form of unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they’re LGBTQ+, according to the study. While one in seven LGBTQ+ people (14 per cent) avoid treatment altogether for fear of discrimination.
Some of the key findings identified in the report include:
- One in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 (13 per cent) said they’ve attempted to take their own life in the last year.
- Almost half of trans people (46 per cent) have thought about taking their own life in the last year, 31 per cent of LGB people who aren’t trans said the same.
- Forty-one per cent of non-binary people said they harmed themselves in the last year compared to 20 per cent of LGBT women and 12 per cent of GBT men.
- Almost one in four LGBT people (23 per cent) have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT people by healthcare staff. In the last year alone, six per cent of LGBT people – including 20 per cent of trans people – have witnessed these remarks.
- One in five LGBT people (19 per cent) aren’t out to any healthcare professional about their sexual orientation when seeking general medical care. This number rises to 40 per cent of bi men and 29 per cent of bi women.
One of the participants of the study shared their own experience of homophobia in the workplace, stating that:
I have recently been off work because of stress due to homophobic bullying by my managers. While my colleagues are great, the managers are terrible. An official complaint to HR found that homophobic attitudes extend there also, and I have been faced with either quitting or returning. I return next week but I am feeling stressed and depressed, and at times suicidal.
Another participant added: “I got sectioned after a suicide attempt and the nurse said that my mental health problems were due to allowing Satan in my soul. If I just accepted my true gender then God could forgive me.”
Ruth Hunt added that “while there are committed individuals and organisations doing outstanding work, this report shows that instances of discrimination, hostility and unfair treatment in healthcare services are still commonplace.”
Knowing that we have somewhere to turn when our health is in crisis is crucial. These findings stand as a stark warning that for too many LGBT people, this still isn’t the case.
With strong leadership across government and the NHS, building on the best practice of health and social care providers across the country, we can bring forward the day when every LGBT person gets the healthcare support they need to lead a happy, healthy life.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, there are a number of services available that can provide you with support and guidance.
- Samaritans: available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Website | 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI)
- MIND, the mental health charity: Website | 0300 123 3393
- Rethink Mental Illness: Website | 0300 5000 927