The majority of LGBT+ young people in Scotland have had suicidal thoughts and feelings – more than in England or Wales
That's according to new research, which found 79 per cent of LGBT+ youngsters aged between 11 to 18 had experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings, compared to just 36 per cent of their non-LGBT peers.
A higher percentage of LGBT young people in Scotland (79%) said they experienced these thoughts than in England (67%) or Wales (73%). In Northern Ireland 82 per cent of LGBT young people said they did.
The survey of 2,934 secondary school pupils (1,140 of whom were LGBT+) across the UK also found the pandemic is disproportionately impacting the mental health of LGBT+ young people.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans young people are more than twice as likely to worry daily about their mental health (55%) than their non-LGBT+ counterparts (26%).
They are also twice as likely to feel lonely, with 52 per cent reporting they feel lonely every day, compared to 27 per cent of non-LGBT+ pupils.
And at home, one in four (25%) of LGBT secondary school pupils said they were experiencing daily tensions where they are living, such as arguments with the family, compared with just 15 per cent of non-LGBT young people.
Meanwhile, almost half (48%) of secondary school pupils in the UK say they have received little to zero positive messaging at school about being LGBT+ at all in the last 12 months.
LGBT+ pupils feel far less safe at school, the research also found. Only 58% of LGBT+ young people in the UK have felt safe at school on a daily basis in the past 12 months, compared to 73% of non-LGBT+ pupils.
‘They need to hear it’s okay to be themselves’
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 later this month, ahead of its annual initiative School Diversity Week on 21-25 June.
The charity’s chief executive Dominic Arnall is calling for schools in Scotland to send a positive message of acceptance to their LGBT+ pupils, who are particularly struggling at this time.
He said: “We very saddened to see so many LGBT+ youth have had suicidal thoughts and feelings – they need to hear from their schools, parents and carers that it’s okay to be themselves.
“We really hope even more primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will join us this year in taking part in School Diversity Week – a great way for schools to demonstrate to their pupils that they are able to be themselves.”
Primary schools, secondary schools and colleges can sign up to School Diversity Week for free at www.justlikeus.org
- If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, SAMH can help.
- Or you can call Samaritans on 116 123