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MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS FOR LGBTQ YOUNG PEOPLE CHARITY WARNS

13th January 2014

Lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people face high levels of discrimination and disadvantage and are suffering much higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal thoughts according to the results of the Youth Chances survey of 16-25 year olds published today by equality and diversity charity METRO.

The Youth Chances Summary of First Findings shows:

  • over half of LGBTQ young people report mental health issues
  • 42% of LGBTQ young people have sought medical help for anxiety or depression
  • 52% of LGBTQ young people report self-harm either now or in the past
  • 44% of LGBTQ young people have considered suicide

METRO’s Youth Chances is the biggest social research and influencing project of its kind. Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the charity has surveyed over 7,000 LGBTQ 16-25 year olds to ask about their experiences of education, employment, health services, their community and relationships. It is the biggest, broadest and most representative survey about the experiences of LGBTQ young people ever undertaken and will be used to campaign for better services and policies for LGBTQ youth across England.

The research also includes a control group of heterosexual non-trans young people: rates of self-reported mental health problems amongst this group also exceed current national statistics, suggesting an alarming rise in the prevalence of poor mental health amongst all young people.

The report also finds that most young people think that discrimination against LGBTQ people in general is common; a finding confirmed by experiences of isolation, bullying and abuse. Young people’s experiences at school are particularly concerning with most LGBTQ young people feeling their time at school is affected and that schools are not doing enough. Additionally, for a significant minority of LGBTQ young people, home is not the haven it should be: one in ten have had to leave home due to their sexuality or gender identity. Trans young people fare worst of all with only one in three indicating high levels of life satisfaction.

Dr Greg Ussher, METRO Acting CEO said:

We should all be deeply concerned about the crisis in LGBTQ young people’s mental health and wellbeing that Youth Chances has uncovered. We have asked young people directly about their experiences and their responses should be a wake-up call that we can and must act on to ensure that LGBTQ young people are afforded the same life chances as their peers. The link between the high rates of discrimination and disadvantage that LGBTQ young people report in our schools, at home and in their communities is stark. But this is not inevitable.

We are announcing today a collaborative process to develop recommendations to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young LGBTQ people; and collaborations in other areas including sexual health, experiences in schools, identity, safety and risk. We also want to develop collaborative processes to look at the specific experiences of trans young people. We hope that as many providers of services, commissioners, experts in the field and young people themselves will join us. We know that LGBTQ young people are not getting the support they need – we must work together to make sure they do.

Contact: Patricia Durrpatricia@metrocentreonline.org 020 8305 5000 x 136 or 07912515397

Notes:

  1. 1. Youth Chances is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and is led by METRO in partnership with the University of Greenwich and Ergo Consulting. It is a five year social research project working directly with individuals, providers and commissioners to influence service provision and policy for 16-25 year old LGBTQ youth. www.youthchances.org
  2. 2. The results are based on a representative sample of over 7,000 young people.
  3. 3. Three other reports are also available:Youth Chances Survey of 16-25 year olds: First Reference Report which provides a question by question analysis;Youth Chances Survey of Commissioners: Baseline Report; Youth Chances Survey of Providers: Baseline Report
  4. 4. It is estimated that there are approximately 6.7 million 16-25 year olds in England. Information about sexual orientation and gender identity is not routinely collected.
  5. 5. METRO is a leading equality & diversity charity, providing health, community & youth services across London & the South East & national & international projects. METRO promotes health, wellbeing and equality through youth services, mental health service and sexual health & HIV services and supports over 16,000 per year on over 45,000 occasions. METRO works with anyone experiencing issues related to gender, sexuality, diversity or identity.www.metrocentreonline.org
  6. 6. The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery. The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6bn. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006. In the year ending 31 March 2013, 28% of total National Lottery revenue was returned to the Good Causes. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
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