People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and transgender (LGBTQ) experience significant inequalities in health and mental health compared with their peers who identify as ‘straight’ (heterosexual). The rates of depression and suicidality are especially concerning with the risk of suicide in LGBTQ, which is twice as high. The reasons for this are multifactorial, but one theory proposed is that poor mental health arises as a result of ‘minority stress’ (internal and external stigma as a result of having a minority identity) and includes the experience of exclusion, prejudice, bullying and isolation. This also impacts on accessing mental healthcare due to concerns about disclosure of sexual identity and lack of understanding around LGBTQ issues by professionals.
By Elizabeth Hughes, Elizabeth Mcdermott, 2020