Mental health charity Student Minds has today released a new report on the mental health challenges faced by LGBTQ+ students.

The research reveals the barriers experienced by the LGBTQ+ student population and highlights that universities need to do more to provide support for those experiencing mental ill health.

The research surveyed LGBTQ+ students on their lived experience of mental ill health, attitudes within the community, and effectiveness mental health support services for LGBTQ+ students. It was found that:

  • 79% of respondents felt there needed to be support systems specifically for LGBTQ+ student
  • 93% of those asked stated they had sought advice or support from their friends, and 77% said they would engage with peer support groups if they were made available
  • PTSD, Panic Disorders and Eating Disorders are particularly high among LGBTQ+ students

These results suggest that LGBTQ+ students are less comfortable accessing university support services and have specific issues which require better understanding. In response to this Student Minds are calling for improvements in training to increase awareness of these issues among university and student union staff. 

Respondents also indicated that some leadership within LGBTQ+ societies can feel exclusive and not accommodating for those seeking a supportive space. Student Minds have recommended that Student Unions and universities improve inclusivity and representation across their organisations, particularly focussing on LGBTQ+ first year students, as they show the lowest level of engagement. 

Further recommendations include increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ role models, protecting LGBTQ+ social spaces within Students Unions, and developing specific resources on supporting LQBTQ+ students.

The full report can be found on the Student Minds website here

Find out more about Mental Health First Aid training for Higher Education communities here