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LGBTQ teens in mental health 'crisis'

Young people who identify as homosexual, bisexual or transgender are more likely to have mental health issues than young people who identify as heterosexual, research has found. 

Depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal thoughts are found in much higher rates among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people, a survey has discovered. 

The survey of over 7,000 16-25 year olds, published by equality and diversity charity METRO, found that over half of LGBTQ young people report mental health issues. 

Many (42%) have sought medical help for anxiety or depression and more than half (52%) report self-harm either now or in the past. 

And 44% of LGBTQ young people have considered suicide. 

The report also discovered that rates of self-reported mental health problems in heterosexual non-trans young people are also above average, suggesting a rise in the prevalence of poor mental health in all young people. 

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.

“We are announcing today a collaborative process to develop recommendations to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young LGBTQ people. 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.”