Getting bullied at school because of your sexual orientation is just SO wrong. It is your right to be educated without fear and your school has a duty to look after you. But the sad truth is that prejudice against being lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans still goes on, and it takes its toll on young people’s mental health.
The good news is that a group of young people at LGBT Youth have been campaigning for change, as Zee – one of the young campaigners – explained to Reach. Zee has even had the chance to speak about the ‘Mind our Health!’ Campaign on STV. Zee is passionate about making sure more LGBT+ pupils don’t go through the same thing as this young person, who shared with the campaigners that “I am recovering from depression and anxiety… mainly because of bullying at school.” Here’s what Zee told us about the campaign:
“Mental health issues affect young people more than adults, and even more so for those with an LGBT+ identity. LGBT+ young people often find it very difficult to access mental health services because of the stigma they face both for being LGBT+ and having mental health problems. Our research shows that doctors often mistakenly believe that it is young people’s LGBT+ identities that cause mental health issues, when really the root of the problem is the discrimination that they face. LGBT+ young people aren’t always unaware of their rights when accessing support services, and are unsure as to whether the service that they are accessing is treating them fairly.
With our campaign work we want to educate teachers, doctors and politicians on how to make sure mental health support services are LGBT+ inclusive. We also want to make sure that LGBT+ young people feel safe and confident accessing help.”
If you’ve got questions about your sexual identity and coming out, or need to talk to someone about relationship issues, bullying or sexual health, you can have a 1-t0-1 online chat in private with a youth worker at LGBT Youth.
There is also lots of good advice on the LGBT Youth website, and there’s a ‘HIDE ME’ button in case you want to quickly move away from the site in case you don’t want other people to know.