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Health report provides rare insight in experiences of LGBTQ+ youth

This news post is about 1 year old

The Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People Health Report has been published. 

Leading charity LGBT Youth Scotland have launched their Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People Health Report, warning of the lack of support across the country. 

This unique piece of research explores experiences of accessing healthcare and the barriers LGBTQ+ young people face to accessing the care they need. 

With over 1200 participants, this deep-dive report is part of the largest piece of research into experiences for LGBTQ+ young people in Scotland to date.   

Since the last survey in 2017, the percentage of participants saying that they feel safe and supported within health services has dropped. 

Around half (45%) of participants don’t feel supported by mental health services, and 1 in 4 (25%) do not know where to go to get information and help with mental health. This report gives essential insight into these headline numbers. 

Long waiting times, a misunderstanding of LGBTQ+ identities, and prejudice and discrimination from healthcare staff are all reported as significant barriers faced by participants in the research. 

Findings also indicated that healthcare systems and process need to be more inclusive, staff need to have an understanding LGBTQ+ identities, and that young people need agency in the choices made around their care.  

LGBT Youth Scotland CEO, Dr Mhairi Crawford said, “It’s dismaying to see that, during a time when access to timely and appropriate healthcare has become particularly difficult in the UK, LGBTQ+ young people are experiencing multiple additional barriers to accessing the services they need. Long waiting lists, prejudice and discrimination, along with systems which don’t recognise the specific needs of LGBTQ+ young people are all unnecessary barriers to accessing appropriate healthcare.   

“In particular, the needs of LGBTQ+ young people must be considered in sexual health and mental health services, and it is absolutely vital that waiting times are reduced for gender identity services.”  

Despite their concerns, LGBT Youth Scotland has said it is committed to ensuring young people have their voices and experiences are heard by decision makers. 

This report identifies clear recommendations for NHS boards and the Scottish Government, including a review of procedures, and investment in LGBTQ+ specific training for staff as well as the LGBT Youth Scotland’s LGBT Charter programme. 

The specific needs of LGBTQ+ young people need to be considered in sexual health and mental health services, alongside a reduction in waiting times for gender identity services, the charity said.  

Dr Crawford added: “It is vital that, as part of the ongoing work to redevelop NHS services, the Scottish Government and NHS Boards take action to ensure that healthcare services are fully inclusive, and that LGBTQ+ young people do not experience additional barriers to receiving appropriate care due to their identity.”