LGBT+ young adults more than twice as likely to have self-harmed than their non-LGBT+ peers
Content warning: This post contains discussion of mental health, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Please reach out to Samaritans, Switchboard or Childline if you are affected by these issues.
LGBT+ young adults are more than twice as likely to have hurt themselves deliberately than non-LGBT+ young adults (65% vs 31%), according to new research by Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity.
Overall, LGBT+ young adults were three times as likely to face a mental health condition than their non-LGBT+ counterparts (42% compared to 14%), the survey of 3,695 adults aged 18 to 25 showed.
Three quarters (74%) of LGBT+ young adults have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings, compared to 43% of non-LGBT+ young adults.
Trans and non-binary young adults most likely to be affected by suicidal thoughts and self-harm
Trans and non-binary young adults were the most likely to have self-harmed (76% and 78%) and to have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings (88% and 83%).
LGBT+ young adults were also more likely to drink and smoke. 65% of non-LGBT+ young adults said they never smoked, compared to 57% of LGBT+ young adults. 20% of LGBT+ young adults said they drink 2 to 3 times per week or more, compared to 14% of non-LGBT+ young adults.
The data forms part of a new report by Just Like Us (the LGBT+ young people’s charity) called Positive Futures, due to be published on 1 June. Just Like Us’ research was carried out independently by Cibyl in January 2023.
The report will look at the experiences of young LGBT+ adults in the UK, covering a range of topics from their wellbeing, home life and time in school to their experiences in the world of work, as well as taking into account intersections like faith, race and disability.
“It is no surprise that living in a society that often fails to support LGBT+ young people, and can even be actively anti-LGBT+, takes a toll on their mental and physical health.”
— Amy Ashenden, Interim CEO
Amy Ashenden, interim CEO of Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, said: “We know that young LGBT+ adults face disproportionate challenges because of their identities, whether that is bullying at school or work, difficult family relationships, or violence and abuse. It is no surprise that living in a society that often fails to support LGBT+ young people, and can even be actively anti-LGBT+, takes a toll on their mental and physical health.
“If we can improve the experiences of LGBT+ young people when they are growing up, then I believe this will have a positive impact on the health challenges they face as adults, and we will look at this link in our full Positive Futures report. This begins at home and at school, which should both be safe and welcoming places for LGBT+ young people.”
Those affected by the issues included in this research should contact Childline (0800 1111), Samaritans (116 123), or Switchboard (0800 0119 100).