Stonewall report reveals mental health impact of discrimination on LGBT people

New research from Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, exposes high levels of poor mental health among LGBT people compared to the general population. Stonewall’s study also reveals a high level of hostility and unfair treatment faced by many LGBT people when accessing healthcare services.

The research, based on YouGov polling of over 5,000 LGBT people, shows more than half of LGBT people (52 per cent) have experienced depression in the last year, and three in five (61 per cent) had anxiety. This compares to one in six adults in England who faced a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, according to Mind.

Experiences of anti-LGBT abuse and discrimination on the street, at home, and at work were also revealed to significantly increase the risk of poor mental health. Two-thirds of LGBT people who’ve been the victim of a hate crime (69 per cent) experienced depression, while three in four (76 per cent) reported having episodes of anxiety.

The situation is particularly concerning for trans people. In the last 12 months alone, more than one in 10 trans people (12 per cent) attempted to take their own life, compared to two per cent of LGB people who aren’t trans. Almost half of trans people (46 per cent) have also had thoughts about taking their own life.

Almost one in four patients (23 per cent) had witnessed negative remarks about LGBT people from healthcare staff while accessing services. One in seven LGBT people (14 per cent) said they have avoided treatment altogether for fear of the discrimination they may face.

Of those who do seek support, one in eight (13 per cent) have experienced some form of unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they’re LGBT. A quarter of LGBT people (25 per cent) also faced a lack of understanding of their specific health needs, a figure that rises to 62 per cent for trans patients.

On the basis of this report, Stonewall is calling for better training for all health and social care staff, with specific guidance on how to meet the needs of LGBT patients.

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.’

Read the full LGBT in Britain Health report.