‘Mind our health’ campaign launched

Date: 31st May 2017
Category: Non-discrimination, Mental health

The campaign - launched on International Day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia - aims to increase understanding of LGBT young people's experiences of poor mental health and raise awareness of mental health rights.

The campaign has been designed and developed by LGBT Youth Scotland's youth commission on mental health. It reveals that LGBT young people have a higher risk of experiencing mental health problems, and calls on health professionals to take action.
Cara Spence, Senior Programmes and Influencing Manager stated:

"There is a significant body of evidence that shows LGBT young people are more likely than their peers to experience poor mental health, including anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. LGBT Youth Scotland's health research shows that 40% of LGBT young people consider themselves to have mental health problems. Transgender young people and bisexual women were most likely to be affected with 67% of transgender respondents and 63% of bisexual women reporting that they have poor mental health."

"It's clear that more needs to be done to reduce the likelihood of LGBT young people experiencing poor mental health and to ensure that mental health professionals and services are equipped to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people".

The youth commission found that LGBT young people are most likely to experience poor mental health as a result of experiencing prejudice or discrimination. In particular they noted bullying at school and pressure to conform to gender norms as key causes of poor mental health amongst LGBT young people.

Young people involved in the mental health youth commission said:

  • "I am recovering from depression and anxiety. I had panic attacks mainly because of bad bullying in school."
  • "We know that LGBT identities don't cause poor mental health, but discrimination does."
  • "I don't believe I could ever access mental health services because I believe they would treat my trans status as an issue."
  • "Doctors should have a better education about LGBT issues and training."

Young people also reported a lack of awareness from mental health professionals regarding LGBT identities and were concerned that they would make assumptions regarding their lives and experiences.

The youth commission is therefore calling for leadership from The Scottish Government in this area, as well as training for mental health professionals and medical students across Scotland.

As part of the campaign, young people will be writing letters to health professionals and a pocket guide to LGBT young people's rights around mental health support will be published soon.