LGBTIQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer or questioning. We’ve used the term LGBTIQ+ on this page, but we realise this doesn’t cover all the ways people define their gender or sexuality. Stonewall has a glossary that lists many more terms.
Mental health problems such as depression, self-harm, alcohol and drug abuse and suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, but they’re more common among people who are LGBTIQ+.
Being LGBTIQ+ doesn’t cause these problems. But some things LGBTIQ+ people go through can affect their mental health, such as discrimination, homophobia or transphobia, social isolation, rejection, and difficult experiences of coming out.
It’s important to note that embracing being LGBTIQ+ can have a positive impact on someone’s well-being too. It might mean they have more confidence, a sense of belonging to a community, feelings of relief and self-acceptance, and better relationships with friends and family.
What issues might LGBTIQ+ people face?
Mental health issues
Being LGBTIQ+ doesn’t automatically mean someone will have mental health issues but may mean they’re at higher risk of experiencing poor mental health.
A study by Stonewall found that over the previous year:
- half of LGBTIQ+ people had experienced depression, and three in five had experienced anxiety
- one in eight LGBTIQ+ people aged 18 to 24 had attempted to end their life
- almost half of trans people had thought about taking their life
‘Hate crimes’ are crimes committed against people because of their race, sexuality, religion, gender identity or disability. Members of the LGBTIQ+ community are at a greater risk of experiencing hate crimes compared to heterosexual people. Certain LGBTIQ+ groups are at particular risk, including gay men, young people and those who are from Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups.
If you have experienced a hate crime, report it by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 at other times to contact your local police force. Stonewall has information on more ways to report hate crimes.
Around one in eight LGBTIQ+ people have experienced unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they are LGBTIQ+. One in seven have avoided treatment for fear of discrimination.
Healthcare providers have a legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to treat LGBTIQ+ people fairly. If you’ve experienced discrimination by a healthcare provider, you don’t have to put up with it. There are different things you can do, such as making a complaint. Citizens Advice has information on what to do next.
What can I do if I’m worried about my mental health?
If you’re worried about your mental health, it may help to look at our 10 practical ways to look after your mental health.
If you feel suicidal, look at the ‘help and support’ section on our page about suicide. There are details of helplines you can contact for support.
There are support organisations for LGBTIQ+ people too. They may be a good place to start if you need help:
- Albert Kennedy Trust – supports young LGBTIQ+ people aged 16 to 25.
- Gendered Intelligence – a trans-led charity that works to increase the quality of trans people’s lives, especially those under the age of 25.
- Imaan – supports LGBTIQ+ Muslims and provides an online forum where people can share experiences and ask for help.
- LGBT Consortium– search their database of LGBTIQ+ groups, projects and organisations to find services near you, including mental health services.
- Stonewall – offers help and advice for LGBTIQ+ people and their allies.
- Switchboard LGBT helpline – offers information and support. All their volunteers are LGBTIQ+.
- Mind – a list of organisations offering mental health support for LGBTIQ+ people.