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Mental health matters

LGBT+ mental health

While attitudes towards LGBT+ mental health is improving many LGBT+ people have experienced difficulties in their lives. Being gay does not, in and of itself, cause mental health problems. Instead, homophobic bullying, rejection from family, harassment at work and poor responses from healthcare professionals are still commonplace for many lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Short answer: LGBT+ people are disproportionately affected by mental health issues. 

LGBT people are prone to mental illness | The Guardian | 12 May 2017

London Assembly Health Committee LGBT+ Mental Health, 2017

The London Assembly Health Committee has published its findings and recommendations to the Mayor of London on how he can provide better mental health support for LGBT+ people. The report says

  • Up to one in ten Londoners (over 800,000 people) identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or other definitions of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Around 40 per cent of LGBT+ people experience a mental health issue, compared to 25 per cent of the wider population
  • LGBT+ people are often overlooked when health commissioning decisions are made because of a lack of data and poor consultation.
    Generic mental health services are not meeting the current needs of LGBT+ people
  • Without specialist support LGBT+ people will continue to experience mental health inequality, stigma and discrimination

 LGBT+ mental health | London Assembly Health Committee | 1 Feb 2017

Stonewall's Gay and Bisexual Men's Health Survey, 2013

Stonewall’s Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health Survey 2013 asked respondents a set of questions widely used by health professionals that help determine whether someone is experiencing depression or anxiety at that time and found that:

  • One in seven (13%) gay and bisexual men are currently experiencing moderate to severe levels of mixed depression and anxiety compared to 7% of men in general.
  • A further 9% of gay and bisexual men are experiencing moderate to severe levels of depression with mild or no anxiety compared to 2% of men in general.
  • Thus overall, 22% of gay and bisexual men are experiencing moderate to severe levels of depression.
  • Bisexual men are more likely to experience moderate to severe levels of depression (26%).
  • 4% of gay and bisexual men are experiencing moderate to severe anxiety with mild or no depression.
  • In the last year, 3% of gay men have attempted to take their own life.This increases to 5% for bisexual men and to 5% for black and minority ethnic gay and bisexual men. In the same period, 0.4% of all men attempted to take their own life.
  • One in ten (10%) gay and bisexual men aged 16 to 19 have attempted to take their own life in the last year. One in sixteen (6%) gay and bisexual men aged 16 to 24 have attempted to take their own life in the last year. In the same period, 0.7% of all men aged 16 to 24 have attempted to take their own life.
  • In the last year, 27% of gay men thought about taking their own life even if they would not do it. This increases to 38% for bisexual men and 35% for black and minority ethnic gay and bisexual men. Just 4% of men in general thought about taking their own life in the last year.
  • Half (50%) of gay and bisexual men said they have felt life was not worth living compared to 17% of men in general. Almost half (46%) of gay and bisexual men who have felt this way did so in the last year.

With 6,861 respondents from across Britain, this is the largest survey ever conducted of gay and bisexual men’s health needs in the world. However, it demonstrates that many of those needs are not being met and that there are areas of significant concern – most particularly in mental health and drug use – that have been overlooked by health services which too often focus solely on gay men’s sexual health.

Gay and Bisexual Men's Health Survey 2013 | Stonewall
Mental Health Briefing | Stonewall


Through the Rainbow Lens | Kings College London | 11 Apr 2017 | 32m 53
In the summer of 2016 members of the LGBT+ community at King’s College London came together with researchers, service providers, film makers, and diversity and inclusion specialists, with the aims of exploring mental health issues affecting the LGBT+ community. This film is the result.

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