Reported by The Guardian – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
Young lesbian, gay and bisexual people start becoming depressed and self-harming from the age of 10 because they feel different from their heterosexual peers, research has found.
LGB 16- to 21-year-olds are four times more likely to have felt depressed, harmed themselves and thought about killing themselves, according to a study based on interviews with 4,800 young people from in and around Bristol.
Experts said the numbers were linked to the bullying, stigma and abuse that some young people experience as a result of their sexuality.
The findings are from the first British research into the prevalence of depressive symptoms and self-harm in young people.
Mental health problems become much more common among young LGB people than heterosexuals the same age as adolescence progresses.
“It’s deeply concerning that such a high proportion of young LGBQ+ people are struggling with their mental health,” said Tom Madders of the the charity YoungMinds.
“While the factors behind mental health problems are often complex and multiple, the high figures may relate to bullying, discrimination, feeling like an outsider or worrying about reactions from family or friends.”
Of the 4,828 participants, 625 did not say they were heterosexual, instead describing themselves as homosexual, bisexual, mainly homosexual, mainly heterosexual, unsure or not attracted to either sex. They were all classed as being in a “sexual minority” by the academics from University College London and King’s College London who carried out the research.
“We’ve known for some time that sexual minority youth have worse mental health outcomes, and it’s quite concerning that we’ve found [that] this trend starts as early as 10 years old and worsens throughout adolescence,” said Dr Gemma Lewis, the lead author of the study.