National Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health Week 2017: Mental Health

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 12:00

This week is the first National Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health Week. 

Coordinated by the National LGB&T Partnership, an alliance of LGBT charities including LGBT Consortium, the week aims to address health inequalities and recognise some of the great work that is taking place around the country.   

The Week focusses on four key themes - so this week, each day we will highlight one of those themes.

Mental Health: 

Evidence shows that lesbian, bisexual and other women who have sex with women (LBWSW) struggle with a range of mental health issues at higher rates than heterosexual women including depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation. Being lesbian or bisexual does not cause mental health difficulties but these difficulties are impacted by growing up in a world that is not accepting of, and often hostile to, lesbian and bisexual identities. 

Survey data has shown that:

  • 21% of bisexual women and 12% of lesbian women reported a long term mental health problem, compared to 4% of heterosexual women
  • 1 in 5 LB women have deliberately harmed themselves in the last year (compared to 0.4 % of general population) and half of LB girls have symptoms consistent with depression.
  • 50% of lesbian and bisexual women under the age of 20 had harmed themselves,3 compared to 1 in 15 teenagers generally
  • Bisexual women are a 1/3 more likely to have self-harmed than lesbians, and nearly two-thirds more likely to report an eating problem
  • LGBT people experience poor care in mental health services with 2 in 5 lesbian women experiencing poor reactions from mental health professional

Click here to download the information sheet on Mental Health and find out more and to explore how you can take action to improve your local services.


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