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Nearly two-thirds of LGBT youth have experienced suicidal thoughts because of bullying

Lydia Smith June 29, 2018

Study suggests stress triggered by rejection by their peers may be to blame

A survey of young people in the UK has found 62 percent of LGBT youth have experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of bullying.

The Annual Bullying Survey, carried out by the charity Ditch the Label, found 43 percent of people within the LGBT community questioned have been bullied in the last 12 months.

More than 9,000 people aged between 12 and 20 were surveyed.

Of those within the LGBT community, nearly a third – 31 percent – had attempted suicide because of their experiences and half of the respondents said they had self-harmed.

A further 31 percent said they had developed an eating disorder and 70 per cent said they had developed social anxiety.

A further 71 percent of LGBT youth polled said it had led to depression.

Some students and community members supported Kluge (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
70 percent said of those surveyed said they had developed social anxiety (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty)

“Unfortunately, bullying remains a real issue in the UK with anyone identifying as LGBT+ among the worst affected,” said Liam Hackett, CEO of Ditch the Label.

“LGBT+ young people are further affected by the impact of heteronormativity within wider society.

“Of those that were bullied, 20 percent of heterosexual identifying young people were bullied on the basis of being gay or lesbian, clearly indicating the negative connotations still attached to being LGBT+.

“We must all do more to educate around sexuality and gender identity in addition to protecting LGBT+ young people from bullying and abuse in both offline and online environments; we need more of those people who witness bullying to turn from bystanders into upstanders, by supporting those who are targeted and safely reporting what they see.”

43 percent of people within the LGBT community surveyed have been bullied in the last 12 months.

More than half of those who took part in the survey (57 percent) said they believed they were picked on because of their appearance. One in 10 said they were bullied for a disability they have.

Amongst all young people who are bullied, one in 10 said it happened daily and half said it happened at least once a month.

The charity also questioned those who witnessed bullying, with one third admitted they rarely – or never – tried to stop what they were watching.

The organisation is calling on young people to report bullying safely and anonymously.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “More needs to be done at home and in schools to help those who are the victims of bullying and also, crucially, to prevent children from bullying in the first place.

“Children who are experiencing bullying need to know that they can approach their parents, teachers or Ditch the Label to talk about what they are experiencing.”

More: bullying, Discrimination, lgbt youth, mental health, schools, young people

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