New LGBT HERO survey of 2273 LGBTQ+ people finds alarming number have felt suicidal or have attempted suicide over the past twelve months. The LGBT HERO Lockdown Survey: One Year On also found high rates of isolation and loneliness among LGBTQ+ people.
LGBT HERO, the national health and wellbeing charity, are calling on the government to provide extra support as they report a mental health emergency as one in three LGBTQ+ people say they have felt suicidal during the last year, with nearly half of under 25s saying they’ve considered taking their own lives.
Findings worse for trans children.
The charity, which surveyed 2273 LGBTQ+ people in April 2021, also found that 6% of people attempted to take their own lives with young people the group most likely to act on suicidal thoughts. 53% of all suicide attempts from a person under the age of 18 were reported by a trans or gender diverse person. The survey also found alarming statistics of people experiencing anxiety, loneliness and depression on a regular basis.
The key findings include:
· 35% (one in three) of respondents reported feeling suicidal.
· 6% reported a suicide attempt.
· Trans people were three times as likely to attempt suicide in the last year than cis people (12% vs 4%).
· 46% (almost half) of under 25s have felt suicidal in the past year.
· 14% of under 18s have attempted suicide in the past year, of these, 53% were trans or gender diverse.
The survey also unearthed that connecting with other LGBTQ+ people has proven difficult or impossible for some, impacting their ability to express their identity:
· 14% of respondents said they had no contact with another LGBTQ+ person for over a month.
· Only 17% of under 18s said they could express their sexual or gender identity all the time during lockdown.
· 12% of respondents said they could never express their LGBTQ+ identity during lockdown.
Anxiety, isolation and loneliness.
Ian Howley, Chief Executive of LGBT HERO, said, “Before COVID-19 began, we knew that LGBTQ+ people were far more likely to experience poor mental health and wellbeing. However, I don’t think anyone realised when this all started the impact it would have on our community. The results are clear, they tell us our community is suffering and they need help and support. I’m extremely alarmed at the number of LGBTQ+ people who have felt suicidal over the past 12 months, especially from LGBTQ+ people under the age of 25 and those from trans and gender diverse backgrounds.”
As to why LGBTQ+ people are experiencing these issues, Ian suggests this might be down to the lack of opportunities for people to be themselves. He says, “The evidence suggests the reason for this is down to anxiety, isolation and loneliness. It’s clear many LGBTQ+ people felt trapped over the last year, but especially since the latest national lockdown began. We as LGBTQ+ people need to connect with one another, we need spaces to meet, feel safe and we need to be able to express who we are as people. And it was all taken away from us with no guarantee it will ever return to the way it was.”
Howley suggests that more needs to be done to help tackle this crisis and calls on the government to step in and support LGBT charities. “It’s clear to me that we need to make suicide prevention and intervention services a key part of what we do. We need to build spaces where LGBTQ+ people can come together and talk, share and support each other while learning life skills such as building confident and self-care.
Government must do more.
“To do this we need the government to step in and support LGBTQ+ charities who can do this work. Although the government has released funds over the last year for non-profits during the coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t go far enough and charities, like us, tend to fly under the radar and miss out on a lot of the funding that’s available. LGBT HERO, as a national health and wellbeing charity is here to support LGBTQ+ people in any way we can, especially during a crisis like the one we are living through. LGBT HERO supports over 100,000 LGBTQ+ people a month. It’s important that charities like us survive so that we can continue to be there for LGBTQ+ people when they need us.”
The ‘LGBTQ+ Lockdown – one year on’ survey results can be read in full at http://www.lgbthero.org.uk/lockdown-one-year-on.
Need to talk? Visit www.sossilenceofsuicide.org
Meet the couple behind the charity SOS Silence of Suicide here.