Charity tells MPs: 44% of LGBT youngsters have considered suicide

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Nearly half of young LGBT people have considered taking their own lives, campaigners have told MPs.

The House of Commons Health Committee has published a report into youth mental health services featuring evidence from LGBT charity METRO.

According to its Youth Chances survey of over 7,000 young people:

• 42% of LGBTQ young people have sought medical help for anxiety or depression
• 52% of LGBTQ young people report self-harm either now or in the past
• 44% of LGBTQ young people have considered suicide

The Chief Executive of METRO, Dr Greg Ussher, said: “Our evidence to the committee highlighted the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people drawn from our Youth Chances research and our on the ground experience working with young people.

“We are pleased to see that the report acknowledges both the higher rates of mental health problems for LGBTQ young people and their specific needs and we urge the recently established Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce to consider the evidence and respond urgently to their needs in its review.”

Dr Ussher added: “We concur with the committee on the lack of reliable and current data on children and young people’s mental health. This must be addressed with a national dataset that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We are horrified at the high levels of mental health problems reported to us through our Youth Chances research with over half of LGBTQ young people reporting mental health issues and nearly half having considered suicide.”

The committee found “serious and deeply engrained problems” in mental health services for young people.

It said the whole system – from prevention and early intervention through to inpatient services – has issues.

While demand for care is rising, in many parts of the country funding is being frozen or cut.

Liberal Democrat Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “I am determined to make sure young people get the mental health care they need.

“We’ve invested £7m in new beds, I’ve launched a taskforce to improve services, and we are introducing a new waiting time standard to make sure young people with psychosis get prompt treatment.”