According to The Guardian, young lesbian, gay and bisexual people start becoming depressed and self-harming from the age of 10 because they feel different from their heterosexual peers, research has found.
LGB 16- to 21-year-olds are four times more likely to have felt depressed, harmed themselves and thought about killing themselves, according to a study based on interviews with 4,800 young people from in and around Bristol.
Experts said the numbers were linked to the bullying, stigma and abuse that some young people experience as a result of their sexuality.
Mental health problems become much more common among young LGB people than heterosexuals the same age as adolescence progresses.
“It’s deeply concerning that such a high proportion of young LGBQ+ people are struggling with their mental health,” said Tom Madders of the charity YoungMinds.
The authors said their results, published on Wednesday in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, should prompt doctors and other health professionals to consider the sexuality of young people whom they try to help over come depression or self-harm.
The respondents were young people who took part in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and reported their sexuality at 16.
Schools could be inadvertently making the problem worse by making “sexual minority” students feel isolated by focusing too much on straight relationships, the study suggests.
The Department of Health and Social Care launched a £4.5m LGBT action plan to improve mental wellbeing in the summer. A spokesperson said: “Our plans will help 70,000 more children a year get access to specialist mental health care by 2020-21.”
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