LGBT+ young people are three times more likely to self-harm and twice as likely to contemplate suicide than their non-LGBT+ peers, new independent research by Just Like Us has found.
Seven in 10 (68%) LGBT+ young people have experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings, compared to 29% of young people who are not LGBT+. Lesbian (74%) and transgender (77%) young people are the most likely to have experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings, followed by bisexual young people (73%) and gay boys (66%).
Black LGBT+ young people are three times more likely than non-LGBT+ young people to contemplate suicide – 89% of Black LGBT+ young people have experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings, compared to 67% of white LGBT+ young people.
A third (31%) of LGBT+ young people have self-harmed, compared to just 9% of non-LGBT+ young people.
LGBT+ young people are also three times less likely to report feeling good about themselves – just 13% of LGBT+ young people say they’ve felt good about themselves on a daily basis, compared to 30% of non-LGBT+ peers.
One in 10 (9%) of LGBT+ young people say they have ‘never’ felt good about themselves in the past 12 months, compared to just 5% of non-LGBT+ peers.
LGBT+ young people are twice as likely to say they ‘never’ feel useful – one in 10 (10%) say they’ve ‘never’ felt useful in the past 12 months, compared to just 5% of non-LGBT+ young people.
LGBT+ young people are also three times less likely to feel useful – only 12% of LGBT+ young people have felt useful on a daily basis in the past 12 months, compared to 30% of non-LGBT+ peers.
The independent study of 2,934 pupils aged 11-18 (1,140 of whom were LGBT+) across the UK by Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, has found that LGBT+ young people are significantly more likely to struggle with mental health and are not getting enough positive messaging from school.
Only 58% of LGBT+ young people have felt safe at school on a daily basis in the past 12 months, compared to 73% of non-LGBT+ pupils.
Half (48%) of all secondary school pupils say they have received little to no positive messaging at school about being LGBT+. According to Just Like Us’ research, 18% say they have had zero positive messaging and 30% say they have only had positive messaging one or twice in the last 12 months.
The data forms part of a larger report into inclusive education and the experiences of LGBT+ young people that charity Just Like Us is due to publish in June 2021.
Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, has called for schools and parents to send a positive message of acceptance to their LGBT+ pupils.
“Our independent research has devastatingly found that LGBT+ young people are three times more likely to self-harm and twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and the reality is even tougher for Black LGBT+ young people – without a doubt, they need a positive message of acceptance from their schools.
“School Diversity Week is taking place 21-25 June and we really encourage primary schools, secondary schools and colleges to sign up to take part – it’s completely free, we provide all the resources you’ll need and it will let LGBT+ pupils know that they belong and can be themselves without fear of judgement.
“Our research shows that LGBT+ young people are far less likely to feel safe in school so it’s vital that LGBT+ young people see they are accepted and we will help school staff with any resources, support or advice that they need.”
Primary schools, secondary schools and colleges needing support with LGBT+ inclusion can contact Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, which runs School Diversity Week at www.justlikeus.org.
LGBT+ young people affected by this story can reach out for mental health support:
Childline for under 19s: 0800 1111
LGBT Foundation: 0345 3 30 30 30
Switchboard: 0300 330 0630