US president Barack Obama has become the most high-profile figure to join a campaign to stop gay teen suicides.

He recorded a short video for the It Gets Better YouTube project, which aims to encourage bullied gay teenagers that their lives will improve.

In the clip, Mr Obama talks about his own experiences of not fitting in.

He said: “I don’t know what it’s like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it’s like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don’t belong. It’s tough.

“When you’re teased or bullied it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself … With time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride, a source of strength.”

The president said he was “shocked” and “saddened” by the spate of reports of young LGBT people committing suicide and urged depressed teenagers to seek help.

He said: “You are not alone. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities.

“There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like, because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust.”

Mr Obama’s video comes just after his administration successfully applied for a stay on a court ruling lifting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the law which bars openly gay soldiers serving in the military.

He has said he is committed to repeal but wants to see the law lifted through Congress rather than the courts.

Gay rights advocates have been angered by his perceived slowness to act on the controversial law.

Earlier this week, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton recorded a video for the It Gets Better campaign.

In her message, Mrs Clinton told young gay people that they are not alone and to “hang in there.”

The It Gets Better project was started by gay journalist Dan Savage. He began the campaign by posting a short video of he and his partner talking about growing up on YouTube.

Since Mr Savage posted his video, the channel has had almost two million views. Thousands of people have uploaded their own videos.