LGBTQ+ Mental Health : How to Celebrate Pride with Focus 

LGBTQ+ Mental Health : How to Celebrate Pride with Focus 

As Pride Month continues, it’s easy to get lost in the celebrations and positive messaging that surrounds this important time. While the visibility of LGBTQ+ progress is important, we must also recognise the ongoing issues faced by the community. That’s why it’s important to us at Grae Matta to highlight mental health in the LGBTQ+ community — to spread awareness of challenges as well as provide resources to those looking for them. 

Standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and plus, LGBTQ+ is an umbrella term, but there are other acronyms that are favoured too. You can find a glossary of terms through the Stonewall website.

While not everyone within the LGBTQ+ community experiences mental health issues, mental health problems such as depression, self-harm, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts are more common among people who identify as LGBTQ+. There are many factors that increase the risk of mental health problems in the LGBTQ+ community, some of which include: 

  • Discrimination 
  • Difficulty Accessing Healthcare 
  • Social Isolation 
  • Rejection 
  • Difficult Experiences Coming Out 
  • Difficulty With Self-Acceptance 
  • Gender Dysphoria 
  • Fear of Violence 

The LGBTQ+ Community and Hate Crimes 

Hate crimes are defined as a crime motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race, sexuality, religion, gender identity, or disability. Compared to Heterosexual or Cisgendered people, LGBTQ+ people are at greater risk of experiencing hate crimes. Research [] also found that hate crimes based on sexual orientation and transgender identity are more likely to involve violence or threats of violence than others. 

How common are mental health issues in the LGBTQ+ community?

 A study by Stonewall found that half of LGBTIQ+ people had experienced depression, and three in five had experienced anxiety. Within this group it’s worth noting that: 

  • One in eight LGBTIQ+ people aged 18 to 24 had attempted to end their life 
  • 67% of trans people had experienced depression and 46% had thought of ending their life 
  • Gay and bisexual men are four times more likely to attempt suicide across their lifetime than the rest of the population 
  • Lesbian and bisexual women had higher rates of suicidal thoughts and self-harm compared to women in general 

How LGBTQ+ people are treated in healthcare 

Around one in eight LGBTQ+ people have reported experiencing unequal treatment from healthcare staff based on their identity. One in seven have avoided seeking treatment for fear of facing discrimination. While attitudes towards members of the LGBTQ+ community in healthcare have and continue to change, more needs to be done to ensure the way they are treated and written about is fair. The history of how the LGBTQ+ community was treated in medicine still influences how people trust and access medical facilities. 

Did you know?

  • The World Health Organisation only removed homosexuality from their list of mental illnesses in 1990. 
  • Up until 2019 the International Classification of Disease listed gender identity disorders as being a mental health disorder. The term ‘gender identity disorders’ has been removed from being within the mental health category, a positive step for the trans community as being trans is no longer medically categorised as a ‘mental illness’. 
  • The government has now banned conversion therapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation – but not their gender identity, showing areas where progress is essential. 

How LGBTQ+ people are treated in the workplace

 While workplace discrimination can impact a variety of groups, there is greater risk of experiencing workplace discrimination and bullying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Workplace discrimination and bullying can take place in many forms including direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. 

Did you know? 

  • LGBTQIA+ employees are more likely to experience conflict and harassment at work compared to their heterosexual and cisgender colleague. 
  • 19% of LGBTQIA+ employees have experienced verbal bullying from colleagues, customers or service users because of their sexual orientation in the last 5 years. 
  • 5% of trans employees are made to use an inappropriate toilet in the workplace, or provided with none at all, during the early stages of transition. 
  • 50% of LGBTQ+ employees are not ‘out’ to their current supervisor or manager and 26% are not ‘out’ to any of their coworkers. 
  • 34% of LGBTQ+ employees have left a job due to poor treatment by their employer. 

How LGBTQ+ people are treated in education

Reports have found that over half of young people in the LGBTQ+ community experience homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying in Britain’s schools. While progress is being made in educating young people on LGBTQ+ identities, young people within these communities often feel isolated, fearful and targeted in school settings. 

Did you know?

  • Verbal, physical and sexual abuse is more commonly reported in transgender youth compared to cisgendered youth. 
  • One third of LGTBTQIA+ pupils drop out of education after 16 years of age. 
  • 13% of those who identify as LGBTQIA+ who are aged 18-24 have attempted to take their own life in the last year. 
  • Symptoms of depression are more common and severe in young people who identify as LGBTQIA+. 
  • Young LGBTQIA+ adults are more likely to show symptoms of eating disorders. 

How LGBTQ+ people are treated in the military 

Alongside historic laws against homosexuality, there were specific laws that applied to the UK military which remained in place until 2000. Unlike the civilian equivalents, these laws also applied to homosexual women. There has been significant progress in the military relating to LGBTQ+ rights in the armed forces, but this history creates an often complex relationship. 

Did you know?

  • Up until the year 2000, if you served in the Armed Forces, it was illegal to be gay. 
  • Under these laws, homosexuality could be punished with up to two years in prison. 
  • LGBTQ+ service people faced being thrown out of the Armed Forces, prosecution, removal of medals, and loss of pension entitlements if discovered as homosexual. 
  • 86% of LGBTQ+ veterans felt dismissal for sexual orientation or gender identity from the Armed Forces affected their mental health. 
  • 74% of LGBTQ+ veterans dismissed said their finances have been affected. 

Help and resources for LGBTQ+ people

Below are some resources that provide advice and support to those within the LGBTQ+ community as well as information of supporting the LGBTQ+ people in your life. 

Switchboard is the national LGBTQ+ support line. For anyone, anywhere in the country to discuss anything related to sexuality and gender identity. 

AKT give LGBTQ+ young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness or a hostile living environment the support they need. 

Black Beetle Health
Black Beetle Health is dedicated to promoting health, wellbeing and equality for LGBTQ+ Black and People of Colour. 

Galop provides helplines and other support for LGBTQ+ adults and young people who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse. 

Gender Construction Kit
Gender Construction Kit offers information for queer people about the legal and medical process of expressing your gender. 

Stonewall offer information and advice for LGBTQ+ people on a range of issues. 

Terrence Higgins Trust 
The Terrence Higgins Trust provides support for LGBTQ+ people worried about their sexual health, including via a listening service. 

Mind have a complete page on finding support for LGBTQ+ mental health. 

Self Care for LGBTQ+ people

You can find some advice and guidance on self-care as a member of the LGBTQ+ community through Mind here.

Supporting someone who is LGBTQ+

You can find guidance on how to best support a LGBTQ+ loved one through Mind’s dedicated page here

You can also find resources to help you best support a trans loved one through Gendered Intelligence

FFLAG also offer resources throughout their site for parents of LGBTQ+ people here

Grae Matta Foundation’s vision is for every individual in higher education, the military, and the workplace to have access to appropriate mental health support the moment they need it. Our inclusive vision for enforceable mental health standards extends to those within the LGBTQ+ community who we believe should gain access to quality services in a timely manner without barriers as soon as it is required. Explore our other articles on mental health here for more information.