Alarming new figures show LGBTI people in Scotland experience high rates of depression. They also face high levels of discrimination when trying to access medical services and bullying.
New research shows that 49% of LGBTI people have had depression in the last year. The rates are higher for trans people at 72%.
Stonewall Scotland commissioned a YouGov poll which surveyed more than 1,250 LGBTI people in Scotland. It released the survey results in a new health report this week.
Rates of depression among LGBTI people are higher than the general population who experienced depression. Non-LGBTI people experienced depression at a rate of one in 10, according to the Scottish Government’s Scottish Health Survey.
Why does this happen
Stonewall Scotland argued poor mental health outcomes resulted from anti-LGBT abuse and discrimination on the street, at home, and at work. A December survey revealed one-third of Scottish men thought same-sex relationships were wrong.
The situation is worse for trans people. In the last year 7% of Scotland’s trans community have tried to take their own lives, compared to just 2% of other members of the LGBTI community.
‘Last year, our research found an 89% increase over a five-year period in the proportion of LGBT people who had experienced a hate crime,’ said Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland.
‘Sadly, this report highlights the impact that hostility and abuse have on mental health and wellbeing, with many lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in Scotland experiencing poor mental health this year.’
Discrimination in healthcare
Stonewall Scotland’s research also found LGBTI people often have their specific health needs overlooked by healthcare professionals. They also may face unfair treatment when accessing healthcare.
One disturbing statistic found 24% of LGBT patients had witnessed negative remarks about LGBT people from healthcare staff. A further 12% avoided getting medical treatments at all, because of a fear of discrimination.
‘It’s vital that LGBT people feel able to access quality healthcare when they need it, but this report shows they can expect to face unequal treatment and discrimination when accessing healthcare services,’ Macfarlane said.
‘Many LGBT people – particularly those who are trans – continue to be ‘outed’ without their consent, treated with inappropriate curiosity and subjected to unequal treatment by healthcare staff.
‘Consequently, LGBT people can be deterred from accessing NHS services, with many avoiding healthcare treatment for fear of discrimination.’
Stonewall Scotland recommended all healthcare staff receive training on LGBT patients’ needs in relation to both mental and physical health. It also said these needs must be taken into consideration throughout the implementation of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy.