Mental health statistics: LGBT people

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people may be more susceptible to mental health problems than heterosexual people due to a range of factors, including discrimination and inequalities.  Positively, there is a growing acceptance of the LGBT community in the UK in recent years.   However, there is a clear need for greater evidence on how impactful policies and practices can be effectively implemented to combat inequalities and disadvantage for the LGBT community.1

Poorer mental health

  • Evidence suggests people identifying as LGBT are at higher risk of experiencing poor mental health.2
  • Members of the LGBT community are more likely to experience a range of mental health problems such as depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm and alcohol and substance misuse.3,4,5
  • The higher prevalence of mental ill health among members of the LGBT community can be attributed to a range of factors such as discrimination, isolation and homophobia.6  This can lead to members of the LGBT community feeling dissatisfied with health services, with mental health services most often perceived to be discriminatory.1

Greater risk of hate crime

  • Members of the LGBT community are at a greater risk of experiencing hate crime compared to heterosexual people, with certain LGBT groups found to be at particular risk, including gay men, young people and those identifying as LGBT from black and ethnic minority groups.1

Lower ratings of quality of life metrics

  • Ratings of ONS quality of life metrics in 2015 (on life satisfaction, happiness and perception that things they do are worthwhile) are lower for members of the LGB community than for heterosexual people.7

Changing attitudes in the UK

Despite these challenges, there is a growing acceptance of the LGBT community in the UK in recent years.   However, there is a clear need for greater evidence on how impactful policies and practices can be effectively implemented to combat inequalities and disadvantage for the LGBT community.1

Support organisations for members of the LGBT community

If you identify as LGBT andwould like to talk to someone about your mental health, these organisations below may be a good place to start:

  • Albert Kennedy Trust – supporting young LGBT people between 16 and 25 years old.
  • Gendered Intelligence - working with the trans community and those who impact on trans lives with a particular focus on supporting young trans people under the age of 21.
  • Imaan – the UK’s leading LGBTQ Muslim charity.
  • Stonewall and LGBT Consortium– services that enable you to find LGBT mental health services in your local area.

References

  1. Hudson-Sharp, N. & Metcalf, H. (July 2016). Inequality among lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender groups in the UK: a review of evidence. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/539682/160719_REPORT_LGBT_evidence_review_NIESR_FINALPDF.pdf [Accessed 11/07/18].
  2. Chakraborty, A., McManus, S., Brugha, T., Bebbington, P., & King, M. (2011). Mental health of the non-heterosexual population of England. Journal of Psychiatry, 198, 143–148.
  3. Zietsch, B.P., Verweij, K.J.H., Heath, A.C., Madden, P.A.F., Martin, N.G., Nelson, E.C., & Lynskey, M.T. (2012). Do shared etiological factors contribute to the relationship between sexual orientation and depression? Psychological Medicine, 42(3), 521–532.
  4. Liu, R., & Mustanski, B. (2012). Suicidal Ideation and Self-Harm in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 42(3), 221–228.
  5. Marshal, M.P., Friedman, M.S., Stall, R., & Thompson, A.L. (2009). Individual trajectories of substance use in lesbian, gay and bisexual youth and heterosexual youth. Addiction, 104, 974–981.
  6. LGBT Foundation. (2015). Mental Health. Retrieved from lgbt.foundation/information-advice/mental-health/ [Accessed 20/11/15].
  7. ONS. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/culturalidentity/sexuality/articles/lesbiangayandbisexualpeoplesaytheyexperiencealowerqualityoflife/2017-07-05 [Accessed 10/07/18].