The Scottish Government has announced funding for a project to support the mental health of LGBTQ youth.
£50,000 will be given to LGBT Youth Scotland to establish a new Mental Health LGBT Youth Commission.
The commission will explore the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth when it comes to mental health services. Involving young people from the start, the project will aim to find “tangible solutions” to inequalities young people currently face.
A 2023 report from LGBT Youth Scotland found that among the problems faced by young LGBTQ people when accessing health services were long waiting times, a lack of understanding of LGBTQ identities, as well as experiencing prejudice and discrimination from healthcare staff.
One example is forms not including options for non-binary and gender non-conforming people. “I feel unsafe/unsupported when forced to out myself on patient intake forms, because there are no gender options that include me,” one person said.
“I feel like I’ve fought for everything I have, and it’s nowhere near enough,” reported another individual.
“All children and young people can get the mental health and wellbeing support they need, at the right time”
Scotland’s Mental Wellbeing Minister, Maree Todd, said: “We have listened to children, young people, and families, and are taking direct action in the areas where they have told us more support is needed.”
Pointing to the Scottish government’s record on LGBTQ rights, Todd also said that it is important to make sure “all children and young people can get the mental health and wellbeing support they need, at the right time.”
Dr Mhairi Crawford, the Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, said the funding was “a step in the right direction” to make sure LGBTQ voices are listened to.
“We recognise the current pressures on the NHS, but even during times of crisis, we cannot deprioritise the needs of marginalised groups,” Crawford continued.
Last year the LGBTQ young person’s charity, Just Like Us, published its Positive Futures report which found that young LGBTQ people were more than twice as likely as non-LGBTQ young people to have self-harmed. LGBTQ youth were also found to be more than twice as likely to have had suicidal thoughts and feelings than non-LGBTQ young people. The charity surveyed nearly 3,700 people aged 18 to 25, including more than 1,700 young LGBTQ people across the UK.