Rainbow flag flying atop City Hall, Kilkenny
A national BeLonG To Youth Services survey has revealed the consequences of the pandemic on the mental health of local LGBTI+ young people.
Perhaps the most startling statistic is that nearly all members of the young LGBTI+ community (97%) are currently struggling with anxiety, stress or depression.
Other key findings from the survey reveal that during COVID-19:
63% of LGBTI+ young people are struggling with suicide ideation (2020: 55%).
50% of LGBTI+ young people are struggling with self-harm (2020: 45%).
83% of young people are feeling acute loneliness throughout the pandemic (2020: 60%).
58% of young people described their mental health as "bad" or "very bad" (2020: 48%).
More than half (56%) of LGBTI+ young people surveyed this year in 2021 said they were not fully accepted in their home environment.
Family rejection, feeling unaccepted, and a denial of identity can result in loneliness, stress, anxiety, and more complex mental health challenges.
CEO of BeLonG To Youth Services, Moninne Griffith, explains that support for LGBTI+ young people, especially now, is integral to positive mental health outcomes.
"The past 12 months have been extremely difficult for LGBTI+ young people, as clear from our research," she said.
"Levels of self-harm and suicide ideation are rising as LGBTI+ young people experience unique mental health challenges. Many formal and informal safety nets, supports, and services have been unavailable because of lockdowns and increased social isolation.
"We need to let LGBTI+ young people know that they are not alone. We need to show LGBTI+ young people across Ireland know that there are spaces for them to come together, be who they are, and receive the support they need."
Some 3,194 young people started the survey. A number of respondents fell outside of the inclusion criteria, and 16 responses, including homophobic and transphobic rhetoric, were removed.
The final sample consisted of 2,279 LGBTI+ young people between the ages of 14 and 24 years.
BeLonG To Youth Services is a national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people.
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