Words: Steve Brown
More than half of LGBT people have suffered from depression over the last year.
According to new research from Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for LGBT equality, those who identify within the LGBT community have alarming levels of poor mental health compared to the general population/
The study also revealed a high level of hostility and unfair treatment faced by many LGBT people when trying to access healthcare services.
Based on a YouGov poll of more than 5,000 LGBT people, the results show that more than half of LGBT people (52 per cent) have experience depression in the last year and three in five (61 per cent) had anxiety.
Two thirds of LGBT people who have been the victim of a hate crime (69 per cent) have experienced depression while three in four (76 per cent) have had episodes of anxiety.
For the trans community, the situation was much worse with around 12 per cent of trans people have attempted to take their own life compared to two per cent of LGB people.
Nearly half of all trans people (46 per cent) have also had suicidal thoughts.
More shockingly, almost one in four patients have witnessed negative remarks about LGBT people from healthcare staff while accessing services and one in seven said they avoided treatment altogether out of fear of discrimination.
Paul Twocock, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at Stonewall, said: “Simply being lesbian, gay, bi or trans shouldn’t mean you’re at higher risk of experiencing poorer mental health or should have to expect unequal treatment from healthcare services in Britain today.
“Unfortunately, this report shows that for many, it still does.
“Despite some outstanding progress by committed individuals and institutions, we are still seeing a bleak picture of LGBT health – both mental and physical – in 2018.
“Half of LGBT people (52 per cent) have experienced depression, while three in five (61 per cent) reported having episodes of anxiety.
“And it’s no wonder this is the case: LGBT people still face routine discrimination in all areas of their lives.
“The Government’s annual hate crime report revealed a 32 per cent rise in anti-trans hate crimes in the last year, while those based on sexual orientation jumped by 27 per cent.
“What this new research shows is the devastating impact hate and abuse has on LGBT people’s mental health and well-being.
“Victims of anti-LGBT hate crime are at far greater risk of experiencing mental health problems compared to other LGBT people and the wider population.
“We need the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments and the NHS to take action and ensure health service staff at all levels understand the needs of all LGBT people and how to support them.
“The £1m fund announced by the UK Government to improve health and social care for LGBT people in England is an important first step.
“We look forward to working with the UK Government’s newly appointed National Adviser for LGBT healthcare in England, and alongside NHS Wales.
“In Scotland, we look forward to continuing our ongoing partnership with NHS Scotland. Across Britain, we want to help create a world where every LGBT person is supported to a lead a happy, healthy life.”