UK study reveals struggles of LGBT youths

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On January 14, the results of a major survey were published, highlighting some of the struggles experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths in England.

Over 7,000 youths in the UK, aged 16 to 25, took the survey, which was carried out by Youth Chances and published by the equality charity METRO.

Of those who were a part of the survey, 6,514 were gay, bisexual, or questioning; 956 were transgender; 612 heterosexual and cisgender.

The social research project interviewed people about their experiences with education, health services and employment, as well as relationships and sexuality.

The survey showed that forty-three percent of young LGBT individuals reported suffering from mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, while forty-four percent had contemplated suicide. Of this percentage, about four out of ten have sought assistance for their depression or anxiety.

The survey also showed that fifty-two percent have or are currently self-harming.

In regards to education, around a quarter claimed they had received sufficient health education.

The survey also showed that LGBT people suffered the most significant levels of bullying and abuse while still in school and that young LGBT people experience much higher levels of sexual, verbal, and physical abuse.

METRO’s CEO, Dr. Greg Ussher, said “We should all be deeply concerned about the crisis in LGBT 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 LGBT young people are afforded the same life chances as their peers.”

Ussher is also calling on schools, colleges, health services and youth clubs to work together to improve the mental wellbeing of LGBT youths.

Youth Chances’ new figures were compared with the latest available figures from the National Health Service, dating back to 2007, which suggested that twelve percent of LGBT young people reported self-harm, and only twenty-one percent had contemplated suicide.

Ussher also said, “We are announcing 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 hope that as many providers of services, commissioners, experts in the field and young people themselves will join us.”

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