Mental health concerns: New survey finds majority of LGBTQ+ community showing signs of stress and depression

“Similarly, the results show unambiguously that younger LGBTQ+ people in the sample had markedly higher levels of stress and depressive symptoms during the pandemic than older LGBTQ+ people. One potential reason for this is that younger LGBTQ+ people are more likely to have lived through lockdown with people who are not aware or not supportive of their sexual orientation or gender identity. ”

The Queerantine web-based survey was launched in late April to understand how LGBTQ+ people aged 18 and over are experiencing the pandemic, including the health, social, and economic impact of measures to reduce coronavirus transmission such as social distancing and the lockdown.

The study aims to address the shortage of data on mental and physical health for the LGBTQ+ community. The authors used two validated measures to assess the mental health of respondents to the survey; the 4-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-4), and the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D-10).

The survey results also reveal one-in-six of LGBTQ+ respondents reported experiencing discrimination in some form during the pandemic, rising to more than one-in-four among those identifying as transgender and gender diverse. Survey results indicate discrimination and inappropriate incidents included increased or excessive scrutiny when out in public during the pandemic, misgendering, involuntary disclosure of LGBTQ+ identity and online abuse.

Responses indicate instances of harassment were clear predictors of poorer mental health status among the study’s LGBTQ+ sample with those experiencing harassment based on their gender or sexuality three times more likely to exhibit significant depressive symptomatology.

Dr Becares said: “Poor LGBTQ+ mental health will remain unchecked without a substantial policy commitment and funding directed to ameliorating health inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. Governments and public health officials need to address the vulnerability of the LGBTQ+ community to the coronavirus pandemic, including supporting data collection efforts, increasing socioeconomic support for disadvantaged individuals, and providing support for organisations working with the community."

Dr Kneale said: “The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and magnified existent societal and health inequities that operate across multiple and intersecting systems of oppression. Given documented stark health and socioeconomic inequalities known to exist on the basis of being LGBTQ+, it sadly comes as no surprise to see from our survey results that lockdown has been particularly difficult for many within the LGBTQ+ community.”

Data collection for the study is still ongoing and the survey can be accessed here.

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By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Thursday, 6 August 2020

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