A longitudinal study in and around Bristol in the United Kingdom found higher rates of depression and self-harm from the age of 10 in LGB youth. The effect is even stronger in later years — LGB 16 to 21-year-olds are four times more likely to have felt depressed, self-harmed, or experienced suicidal thoughts than their heterosexual peers. Respondents included 4,828 participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, with 625 identifying as non-heterosexual.
Researchers theorize that higher rates of mental health issues in the LGB population are related to bullying, stigma and abuse related to sexuality.
“We’ve known for some time that sexual minority youth have worse mental health outcomes, and it’s quite concerning that we’ve found [that] this trend starts as early as 10 years old and worsens throughout adolescence,” said Dr Gemma Lewis, the lead author of the study.
The authors hope that their study will encourage health professionals to consider sexual orientation when treating mental health issues in adolescents, and that more research can be conducted.
Read more at The Guardian.