More than half of LGBT people have experienced depression in the last year

New research from charity Stonewall surveying over 5,000 LGBT people has revealed that 52% of LGBT people reported that they had experienced depression in the last year - levels higher than that of the general population.

The alarming findings show that LGBT people have poorer mental health compared to the general population. Researched showed anxiety levels in LGBT people were higher than those in the general population, with three in five LGBT people reporting anxiety compared to similar general population polls reporting figures closer to one in six.

The research, carried out by YouGov and commissioned by Stonewall, Britain's leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, also included reports from many LGBT people of discrimination in the healthcare service. Nearly one in four people had witnessed negative remarks about LGBT people from healthcare staff while accessing services, and one in seven said they have avoided treatment altogether for fear of the discrimination they may face.

Survey feedback showed that for the people who did seek healthcare, many said they received unequal treatment from staff because they are LGBT and even more said there was a lack of understanding to their specific health needs, especially so for transgender patients.

“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,” Paul Twocock, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at Stonewall, said.

“LGBT people still face routine discrimination in all areas of their lives. The Government’s annual hate crime report revealed a 32% rise in anti-trans hate crimes in the last year, while those based on sexual orientation jumped by 27%. What this new research shows is the devastating impact hate and abuse has on LGBT people’s mental health and wellbeing. 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.”

Poor mental health in the LGBT community is also connected to anti-LGBT abuse and discrimination in daily life, which leads to poor mental health. Stonewall reports that 69% of LGBT people who’ve been the victim of a hate crime have experienced depression, while 76% reported having episodes of anxiety. Again, the figures rise for trans people. In the last year, 12% of trans people have attempted to take their own life - compare that to 2% of LGB people who aren’t trans.

“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,” Paul said. “Across Britain, we want to help create a world where every LGBT person is supported to a lead a happy, healthy life.”

Stonewall is Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, working to create a world where every single person can be accepted without exception. To get involved, visit Stonewall's website. For more information, read the full LGBT in Britain Health Report.

If you are looking for support, search for an LGBT counsellor on Counselling Directory. Enter your post code, enter 'LGBT' into the keyword box, and have a look.