The London Assembly Health Committee have called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to improve mental health treatment for the capital’s estimated 800,000 LGBT+ people.
This comes after a report that shows 40 per cent of LGBT+ people suffer from mental health issues, compared to 25 per cent of the wider population.
It is estimated that one in ten people in London identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or other definitions of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The issues are more pronounced in certain groups, with the mental health charity MIND claiming that and 70 per cent of lesbians experience mental health problems.
CliniQ, a service working with transgender people in London, reports that over 50 per cent of transgender people have considered or attempted suicide, and over 80 per cent experience depression.
According to the report published by the London Assembly Health Committee, the reasons behind poor mental health for LGBT+ people are often tied to homophobia or fear of being a victim of homophobia.
One in six LGBT+ people experience homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic hate crime at some point in their lives, yet that research shows two thirds of people who experience these hate crimes do not report it to the police.
They are also unwilling to come out to health professionals due to negative past experiences or concern about being discriminated against.
This leads to a “vicious circle”, where a lack of data is interpreted as a lack of need for extra attention for mental health care.
Many older LGBT+ people express concerns about having to go back ‘into the closet’ when they engage with social care providers, palliative and end of life care services.
This can add significantly to feelings of social isolation which are damaging to mental health.
The London Assembly have claimed they will “challenge the Mayor to deliver on his manifesto commitments to LGBT+ people”.
The report says: “The Mayor is uniquely placed to provide leadership on this issue. The Mayor should acknowledge that improving the mental health of LGBT+ people is a priority in his wider efforts to reduce health inequalities.”