A new study published by the journal BMC Psychiatry claims that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are 50% more likely than straight people to have suffered depression or anxiety disorders.

The UK research findings are based on an analysis of 25 past studies of sexuality and mental health.

According to the research, lesbians and gays are also more prone to substance abuse and suicide attempts.

Dr Michael King, professor of primary care psychiatry at University College London, was quick to stress that homosexuality itself is not a disorder leading to poor mental health, but that the high rate of mental ill health is probably due to lifelong stress.

Dr King told Reuters Health that gays and lesbians face discrimination and social and familial exclusion, which he believes may be linked to mental disorders.

He went on to emphasise that healthcare professionals should take into account these findings, but not assume that psychological disorders in LGBT patients are necessarily linked to their sexuality.

This, he claims is often a problem for LGBT people seeking help with mental health.