New independent research from LGBT+ charity Just Like Us has found that the overwhelming majority of LGBTQ+ young people in the UK have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings.
The survey of 2,934 secondary school students found that 83% of LGBTQ+ young people had experienced suicidal thoughts, and were over twice as likely to worry about mental health compared to their straight/cisgender counterparts. These findings highlight worrying mental health disparities across the UK. Young LGBTQ+ people – especially trans kids – feel unsafe to be themselves, and it’s impacting negatively on their mental health. The outcomes for these LGBTQ+ children won’t improve until they feel safe and accepted as they are.
There’s no better place for this change to start than at school. Studies show that the best predictor of good mental health in young LGBTQ+ people is acceptance. Schools play an important part in young people’s lives, and can be a important source of acceptance among friends and peers. This month from the 21st to the 25th of June is School Diversity Week, celebrating young LGBTQ+ people in the UK and promoting safer, happier and more welcoming schools for diverse pupils. Last year 1.97 million pupils took part, both online and in person, and this year Dominic Arnall (Chief Executive of Just Like Us) wants to do even better: “We really hope even more primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in Northern Ireland and across the UK 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”.
If you want to show your support for LGBTQ+ young people and get involved with School Diversity Week – whether as a pupil, a family member, or an educator – then you can download your free resource packs here or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or queries.