Almost four in five LGBT+ people (79%) say that coronavirus lockdown has made their mental health worse.
Rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness have skyrocketed. Moreover, young, trans, black and Asian LGBT+ people have particularly struggled.
That’s according to a new survey of 2,333 LGBT+ people by health and wellbeing site OutLife.
It found that 24% of LGBT+ people said they were depressed ‘very often’ or ‘every day’ before lockdown. But during lockdown this increased to 43%.
Meanwhile 34% of LGBT+ people suffered anxiety ‘very often’ or ‘every day’ before. But during lockdown this rose to 50%.
Moreover, the number of LGBT+ people who say they are lonely ‘very often’ or ‘every day’ has also risen sharply. Just one in five (21%) suffered frequent loneliness before but this doubled to over half (56%) during lockdown.
Ian Howley is the chief executive of the charity LGBT HERO which runs OutLife.
He said: ‘It’s without any doubt that COVID-19, and the lockdown it brought, has negatively affected LGBTQ+ people.
‘The results are clear and we can see the impact it has had on our community.
‘However, the results must be used to find better ways to support LGBTQ+ people.’
Young, trans and black and Asian people worse off
The researchers also found that lockdown has taken a bigger toll on some parts of the community.
It has particularly harmed young LGBT+ people.
More than two in three (67%) of LGBTQ+ people under 18 frequently felt lonely during lockdown.
Meanwhile 43% of under 18s rated their mental health ‘extremely poor’ or ‘poor’ before lockdown. During lockdown this increases to 69%. And for 18 to 24-year-olds, the figure doubles (33% before and 68% during). Bi people and lesbians have seen similar increases.
Likewise, trans and non-binary people also reported much higher levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness and worse overall mental health.
Black and South Asian LGBTQ+ people were more than twice as likely to experience violence or abuse during lockdown compared to white LGBTQ+ people.
Moreover, black people were more likely to get depressed than others in the community. And black and Asian LGBT+ also suffered higher levels of anxiety. Asian people were the most likely ethnic group to feel more lonely.
Worryingly, this has translated into self-harm for many. This is particularly the case for those aged 18 to 24, where 2% self-harmed before and 9% during lockdown.
Meanwhile trans and non-binary LGBT+ people were twice as likely to self-harm during the quarantine period as before.
And 8% of LGBT+ people have felt at risk of homelessness during lockdown. Likewise, 15% of have suffered violence and abuse – mostly this has been at home and emotional rather than physical.
Finally, people were slightly more likely to drink more. But drug use in the community appears to have dropped.